Apple production in New Zealand has declined by nearly 18% over the last eight years, according to the country's latest crop census.
It covers the period when the industry was being deregulated and internal competition among licensed exporters was rife.
At the same time the continuing expansion of newer varieties worldwide meant some of New Zealand's older established fruit, such as Red and Golden Delicious, were uneconomic.
According to trade sources, however, the worst is now past and the industry is rebuilding with a range of Gala/Splendour hybrids. Many growers are hoping to repeat the success enjoyed when Gala and Braeburn were discovered.