1 Nov 2011

Gas failure impact minimal on tomato growers

9:16 pm on 1 November 2011

The Maui pipeline shutdown disrupted the gas supply to vegetable growers in the northern half of the North Island who use gas to heat their glasshouses.

Crops such as tomatoes, capsicums and cucumbers were affected but Wim Zwart of Tomatoes New Zealand says that compared to the dairy industry, which is at the peak of milk production, the impact was minimal.

"They would have really noticed it as they walked into the glasshouse that it would have been cooler and the humidity levels would have been higher," he said.

He says production may have dropped for a few days as tomatoes ripened naturally.

"If it had happened in the middle of winter and it was frosty weather it could have been catastrophic for tomato growers," he said.

They could have lost their entire crop for the next four months.