Always take the weather with you
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.