17 May 2017

Wet conditions put dampener on vege crops

12:03 pm on 17 May 2017

Extremely wet conditions have made it very difficult to grow vegetables in the past few weeks, especially leafy greens, Horticulture New Zealand says.

Veges

Photo: 123rf

A spokesperson for the growers umbrella group, Richard Palmer, said gardens are under water, plants have been destroyed by the constant rain and, until it stops raining, the plants will not be able to grow.

Mr Palmer said cyclones Debbie and Cook had also made it difficult to harvest root vegetables, such as potatoes due to wet soil conditions making it difficult to get tractors and machinery into the gardens.

He said the damage was widespread.

"Anything that has been in the ground over the past few weeks ... we've seen photos of paddocks still under water last week of broccoli, lettuces and cauliflower.

"Supply is certainly a bit shorter, which of course has driven the price up but the price reflects some of the risks that our growers have to take as well, many have lost their crops with no return."

It could take a bit of time for some growers to get back on track said Mr Palmer.

"Crops are going in the ground all the time, it's really those underwater that won't be available but we'll see some shortage for a few weeks yet."

Mr Palmer said there were some factors that could be addressed to stop high-priced vegetables becoming normal.

"One of the clearest challenges for us is the loss [to housing] of good horticultural land in places where we would expect to keep growing vegetables.

"South Auckland is a good example but other regions as well: Hawke's Bay, Tasman."