27 Nov 2017

Lucky escape for Christmas cherries

1:51 pm on 27 November 2017

Another heavy downpour before Christmas could be disastrous for Central Otago's cherry crop, a fruit grower says.

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Photo: Supplied/ Max Pixel

The town of Roxburgh was hit by heavy rain and hail yesterday afternoon and evening, and flooding knocked out the town's water supply.

Roxburgh cherry orchard owner Gary Bennetts said the fruit escaped the worst of the deluge, but if the bad weather was repeated in a few weeks' time it could cause major damage.

"We had those heavy rains, and in amongst it all we've had about four hail storms which haven't come to too much," he said.

"If you asked me in two or three weeks' time, when the cherries are starting to come on, I'd say it'd be a bit of a disaster."

Several of his staff members had taken the day off because flooding on the roads meant they could not get to work, Mr Bennetts said.

It had been a relatively warm season and cherry crops were on track for Christmas, he said.