Kiwifruit harvest is the busiest time of year for the kiwifruit industry and vast amount of labour is required to help growers complete this process (see Labour).
Harvest begins in March and ‘Main pack’ for Hayward is in May which is when the majority of fruit is harvested. For Gold varieties ‘Main pack’ is generally a little earlier, with Harvest usually all over by the middle of June. Before fruit is harvested, it must be mature enough to ripen when it is off the kiwifruit vine and growers must get clearance from Ag First before they start to pick. The fruit needs to have black seeds, meet the MTS, be the right colour and reach a Soluble Solid Concentration (SSC) or brix (sugar content of an aqueous solution) of more than 6.2% for Hayward and 8% for Gold.
Growers receive two types of additional payments based on when their fruit is shipped; the Kiwistart Premium and Time Payments. For more information on these payments head to www.zespri.com/canopy
In 2014, NZKGI developed the Best Practice for harvesting video which provides an overview of harvesting practices and is an excellent introductory video for new employees.