31 Oct 2014

Weather troubles potato harvest

2:27 pm on 31 October 2014

The early season potato crop is now being harvested around the country as planting of the the main crop, to be harvested next year, begins in earnest.

Potato fields in Pukekohe.

The early season potato harvest started in Pukekohe (pictured) and will now move south. Photo: RNZ / Olivia Allison

Potatoes New Zealand chief executive Champak Mehta said the harvesting of new potatoes began in Pukekohe in September and will progress southwards as the weather gets warmer.

However, Mr Mehta said growers around the country were reporting that weather conditions were causing a bit a of a harvesting headache - especially getting the delicate new season's potatoes out of the ground safely.

"It's too hard to tell what the impact will be on the main crop when we harvest it next year, although in these conditions, it does make planting a little challenging," he said.

"It also makes the harvesting of the new potatoes a little bit challenging ... New potatoes have a very delicate skin, you can just flick them off with your fingers, and if the ground's wet they're hard to handle and they can get damaged more easily because they're very, very delicate."

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