22 Dec 2010

Asparagus production down

12:52 pm on 22 December 2010

Horowhenua asparagus grower Geoff Lewis says a lighter asparagus crop this year due to a cold spring, is causing headaches for processors and suppliers looking to fill orders.

He has 70 hectares planted in asparagus.

Horticulture New Zealand says production could be up to 50% down on last year.

Mr Lewis says the smaller crop has pushed up retail prices for asparagus, but that makes it hard for processors and suppliers to meet orders.

"They've been under a lot of pressure because they need to amass their supplies as well to meet their contracts," he said, adding that 2010 has been the quietest harvest for many years.

However, exports this year have been very successful. New Zealand is sending about 500 tonnes of asparagus to its main market Japan.