Tuesday, 12 January 2021 10:30

Cherry crop takes a beating

Written by  Staff Reporters
Summerfruit NZ say that while weather has caused this season's crop to take a beating, they say they're thankful for the help they've received this season. Summerfruit NZ say that while weather has caused this season's crop to take a beating, they say they're thankful for the help they've received this season.

Central Otago cherry growers have been dealt another blow, with heavy rain earlier this month causing major damage to matured fruit.

Although the full extent of the damage is yet to be quantified, it is expected that up to 50% of the season’s bumper cherry crop has been lost due to splitting, resulting in the loss of $50 million in export revenue to the country.

Additionally, flooding caused damage to orchard buildings located around Earnscleugh when the Fraser River broke its banks. The impact of the weather event isn’t confined to just this season as damage to trees will potentially affect next season’s crop.

The news comes at a point when growers were starting to feel optimistic that most of their fruit would be picked thanks to the fantastic response from New Zealanders and stranded backpackers helping with the harvest.

While summerfruit growers are aware of the role weather plays in their livelihoods and make preparations to mitigate it, the persistent and heavy nature of the rainfall had not been experienced in 40 years.

“It is incredibly sad to see growers lose so much of their crop in this way,” says Summerfruit NZ chief executive Richard Palmer.

“Growers are working hard to harvest the remainder of the crop, and with good weather ahead there is still substantial work for pickers and packers,” Palmer adds.

“We also feel for all the people who came to help with the harvest as they responded so generously to the industry’s call for help.”

Palmer says that damage to other summerfruit crops provides ongoing opportunity for some harvest staff.

“We are working hard to assess what the impact will be on both orchards and the workers, and are looking at how we can keep people in work for the summerfruit harvest followed by apple, grape and pear harvests.”

Summerfruit NZ says the industry is also grateful for support provided by the Ministry of Transport to ensure flights to export markets were maintained despite the ongoing rain and uncertainty.

More like this

New boss sets priorities

Labour issues will be the key focus for Summerfruit NZ's new chief executive Kate Hellstrom during the coming 12 months.

New Summerfruit NZ chair

Summerfruit NZ's new chair says the biggest problems facing growers are the ongoing labour shortage and the difficulty getting produce to overseas markets due to the logistics crisis caused by Covid-19.

Sector needs to tackle challenges

Summerfruit NZ's immediate past president Tim Jones says the sector needs to own up to the fact that it's built businesses based on migrant labour.

Not a very cherry start!

What was expected to be a bumper cherry crop this year has been badly hit by untimely wet weather.

Local interest picks up

Industry body Summerfruit NZ says it’s had a “magnificent response” to the call for help from locals with this season’s harvest.

National

Marketing blast for Rockit

Gaining momentum from the global roll-out of its new brand in July, NZ fruit company Rockit has recently launched its…

Zespri celebrates in style

The contribution of NZ's kiwifruit industry came in for some high praise at a special function at Parliament, just before…

Keeping NZ kids healthy!

New Zealand's fresh fruit and vegetable sector has signed a new two-year deal with the Government to continue supplying produce…

Machinery & Products

Smart way to bumper crops

With kiwifruit being the "go to" good food of the 21st century, it was inevitable that orchard prices would skyrocket.

Taking spud harvest to next level

With more than 40 years of two and four-row self-propelled harvester production behind them, the latest Dewulf harvester - imported…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Too many hits?

OPINION: Well-known professional protestor, John Minto has run off at the mouth without checking his facts.

Good question!

A mate of the Hound's thinks it was more than a bit dodgy when DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel…

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter