Al­ways take the weather with you

NZ Grower - - NEWS - By Natalie Hamp­shire

The Or­chardist wanted to find out where you go to get the in­for­ma­tion you need to plan plant­ing, har­vest­ing and spray­ing sched­ules through­out the year. And whether or not tech­nol­ogy is help­ing you to make smart de­ci­sions on-the-go.

We asked grow­ers from around New Zealand to tell us their favourite weather fore­cast sources, and to give us an up­date on how the weather has been in their re­gion dur­ing El Niño. EL NIÑO AROUND NEW ZEALAND North­land: “We have had at least one rain event ev­ery week since the new year, which has been good. So far El Niño has been very kind to us but we aren’t sure yet if that kind­ness will con­tinue. The dry time for North­land of­ten comes late, so we will be fol­low­ing the weather closely to see how it plays out.” An­dre de Bruin.

____________________________________________________________ As a grower, you check the weather ev­ery day. Some­times three, four or five times a day.

Bay of Plenty: “We’ve had rain fall­ing ev­ery cou­ple of weeks which is keep­ing things green. The grass around the area is the green­est I’ve seen it this time of year in some years. The rain hasn’t been too thin – it has been slow and steady. It’s kept the soil wet and kept things grow­ing. We’ve been lucky this year. It’s hot this time of year too, around 26–27 de­grees.” Barry O’neil.

Hawke’s Bay: “It’s been vari­able to say the least. We’ve had pleas­ant, typ­i­cal, warm and sunny Hawke’s Bay days fol­lowed by cold, dull, over­cast days. The weather hasn’t set­tled into any tra­di­tional pat­tern. We’ve had a lit­tle bit of rain on the plains and in iso­lated places so the trees are in good health and haven’t been stressed in that re­spect. It was cool and damp over spring and we’re run­ning three to four days later than last year when look­ing ahead to har­vest. We won’t start har­vest un­til well into March which is very un­usual – usu­ally har­vest be­gins around the 12th of Fe­bru­ary. The last cou­ple of days we’ve had warm 30 de­gree days which is a re­turn to the typ­i­cal sum­mer pat­tern.” Leon Stal­lard.

Can­ter­bury: “The weather hasn’t turned out as pre­dicted so far. But it has been ` kind of nor­mal’ when com­pared with the usual sum­mer sea­son. It was a cold spring and then it started to dry out. This only lasted for about four weeks and since then it has moved away from the dry El Niño con­di­tions that were pre­dicted and there have been show­ers reg­u­larly from 5ml to 7ml, and more re­cently it has picked up to 30–50ml of rain. It has been so heavy that we’re happy to see sun­shine and heat now. And just to add to the change­abil­ity, the fore­cast is pre­dict­ing tem­per­a­tures in the high teens and more drizzly, cloudy, rainy weather. This is not a typ­i­cal con­cept of El Niño and it isn’t a drought by any means.” Mike Arnold.

HOW OF­TEN GROW­ERS CHECK THE WEATHER As a grower, you prob­a­bly al­ready know this, but ev­ery­one we spoke to says they check the weather at least once a day. Some­times five to six times, de­pend­ing on what is sched­uled and if there has been a pre­dic­tion of rain. Quite a few use their phones by ei­ther go­ing on­line or call­ing a fore­cast provider to check the weather dur­ing the day and to make de­ci­sions based on the most up-to-date pre­dic­tions.

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