$6.1m kiwifruit orchard sale sets record
The hammer slammed down at $6.1 million on a Te Puke orchard sold at auction, marking what agents believe to be the largest sale of a gold kiwifruit orchard in the area.
The 6ha property with 5.03 canopy hectares of G3 kiwifruit on new Agbeam structures sold for $6.135m — or $1.18m per canopy hectare — last Wednesday.
The sale price also allowed $200,000 for the 23.625 per cent shareholding in the amenities block.
The sale of the north-facing block, which produced 20,000 trays per hectare last season, also included the vendor’s share (23 per cent) and capital account in the Oasis Kiwifruit Partnership.
The orchard had been owned by Keith Oakley and his family since 1997.
Selling agent Snow Williams of Bayleys Real Estate believed the sale was the highest for a G3 orchard.
Keith Oakley had been orcharding for 45 years, owning several kiwifruit orchards since buying his first in 1973.
“I was a bank manager and one Sunday I was busy doing the gardening and I thought, ‘What am I doing here mucking around in this garden?’,” He said.
“There was a man up the road putting kiwifruit plants in. I thought that would be more profitable than doing my gardening on a Sunday.
“So I sold my house in town and went orcharding. I bought a caravan, managed a bank and developed an orchard.”
Williams said Oakley gave him his first job in 1980 when he worked for the family on the Oakburn Orchard on No 2 Rd for two years.
He said it was the beginning of his career and interest in orcharding.
“I knocked on every door on No 2 Rd and Keith was the only person who rang me back,” he said.
Williams said Oakley and his late wife Shirley worked hard to develop the land at No 2 Rd and took pride in their orchard. “Keith had such a beautiful orchard, [on No 2 Rd] we used to keep it like a park,” he said.
In 1997, Oakley bought the orchard on No 4 Rd.
The site had previously grown lemons for the Schweppes sparkling lemon drink and was developed by Oasis Orchards.
At age 96, Oakley was pleased to have got a good price.
PGG Wrightson Real Estate Te Puke agent Stan Robb said demand was outstripping supply for top quality orchards. He had just sold two gold kiwifruit orchards, one for $1.15m per canopy hectare and another for $1.17 per canopy hectare.
In the 2017/18 season to April, Robb and his son Chris had sold 15 orchards for $70m but sales prices had jumped since then, he said.
“The orchards we sold then included the crop so the fruit was on the trees or had been picked. Now they have got to wait until the crop matures, which is six months away.”
A top-of-the-line orchard could fetch $1.1 to $1.2m per canopy hectare, he said.
Zespri communications manager Oliver Broad said Zespri reported an average orchard gate return of $5.47 per tray and $64,127 per hectare for green kiwifruit last month.
The average gate return for gold kiwifruit was $10.28 per tray and $137,865 per hectare.
“These forecasts reflect strong performance across all markets as we strive to meet growing consumer demand,” he said.
Broad said the long-term outlook was positive and was reflected in kiwifruit investments.
“At the same time, investors will know that in our sector and across all primary industries, risks such as those posed by weather and biosecurity need to be considered and factored into any future business planning.”
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc chief Nikki Johnson said orchard gate return for green kiwifruit rose to $59,981 from $30,067 per hectare in the last 10 years and to $114,345 from $60,885 for the gold variety.
“Increases in orchard value are a reflection of the outstanding recovery from the Psa crisis and the strong predicted future growth of the kiwifruit industry, largely on the back of the Sungold variety,” she said.
The Te Puke orchard went under the hammer this week.
Snow Williams and Keith Oakley at auction day.