21 Sep 2017

Pukekohe vege growers battle hail, humidity

12:45 pm on 21 September 2017

Recent weather in the market garden town of Pukekohe is causing the perfect storm for crops to be affected by diseases, the local Vegetable Growers Association says.

vegetables

Pukekohe farmers are struggling with their crops this season as they have been dealing with rain and hail and warmer weather. Photo: 123rf

Rain and hail followed by warmer, humid temperatures last week are less than ideal growing conditions as crop foliage is damaged, and the warmer weather increases the risk of diseases.

Most crops in the area were affected by the wind and hail, especially leafy greens, said association president Brent Wilcox, a grower himself.

"There's been some crops come through okay, but a big proportion have been knocked out quite severely."

"The challenge we've had is because the ground conditions are so wet it's really difficult to get on to the land and the warm weather accentuates that.

"It's been a perfect storm in some ways in terms of trying to cope with all those things and react to the things that have happened. It's been quite hair-raising for growers."

The forecast this week isn't looking good, either, he said.

"The soil is so saturated that a lot of crops are sitting there with quite sodden feet," he said.

"While the tops are being damaged, the roots underneath in the ground are equally compromised. It's likely the crop performance in terms of yield and quality will be impacted."

He expects there will be a lean supply of vegetables at least until Christmas.

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