Hail in­surance $3 mil­lion in BoP

The Orchardist - - News - By Les­ley Board

Worst hit after the first storm were prop­er­ties in the Wel­come Bay–Pa­pamoa area, par­tic­u­larly on Wel­come Bay and Kairua Roads and Man­gatawa. Some other ar­eas also re­ported hail the size of mar­bles piled to a depth of more than 15cm with the storms last­ing five to 10 min­utes.

Ex­actly a week later, grow­ers were again on high alert with more hail fore­cast.This time the worst hit ar­eas were mainly around Whakatane and Edge­cumbe, with se­ri­ous dam­age for­tu­nately limited to a small num­ber of or­chards.

Zespri's fig­ures show one-third of the no­ti­fied hail strikes from that storm were through parts of South Auck­land with the rest in the Bay of Plenty.

More than 100 grow­ers were af­fected.

Late last month Zespri had re­ceived hail no­ti­fi­ca­tions from 110 ki­wifruit grow­ers (in­clud­ing some in Nel­son) and 70 of those were from the Bay of Plenty. By then 89 of the 110 or­chards had been as­sessed. Of those, 54 were con­sid­ered to have es­caped se­vere canopy dam­age and should de­liver a mar­ketable crop next year. Ac­cord­ing to Zespri, the re­main­ing 35 or­chards as­sessed at that stage were likely to re­sult in an in­surance claim.

HAIL NET­TING GIVES WAY

Seeka ki­wifruit or­chards were among the worst hit in the Bay of Plenty and Seeka's gen­eral man­ager grow­ers, Si­mon Wells, said he had seen two prop­er­ties where the hail net­ting in­stalled had been un­able to bear the load.

“There was still ice piled up in the net the fol­low­ing day. Some of the worst hit or­chards were ones where young G3 vines were set­ting their first crop and that's par­tic­u­larly tough on those grow­ers.”

Seeka's pre­lim­i­nary es­ti­mate is that they will have lost around 350,000 trays of ki­wifruit, but they are com­mit­ted to help­ing af­fected grow­ers look after their vines.

“The key thing is to pro­tect them against Psa be­cause the dis­ease will get into the plant where in­juries oc­cur. We have been car­ry­ing out pro­tec­tive spray pro­grammes and now it's a mat­ter of wait­ing to see how the vines re­spond. A lot de­pends on the ex­tent of the dam­age. In some places only parts of an or­chard have been af­fected and grow­ers are sol­dier­ing on, hop­ing for a rea­son­able out­come.”

IN­SURANCE CLAIMS AROUND $3 MIL­LION

Zespri's in­surance scheme cov­ers losses up to a max­i­mum of $12 mil­lion for the 2015 sea­son, split evenly be­tween Green and Gold plus other va­ri­eties. Claims from pre­lim­i­nary as­sess­ments were es­ti­mated at $3 mil­lion but the dam­age is still less than 1% of the to­tal es­ti­mated crop vol­ume.

Zespri has warned af­fected grow­ers that while in­fec­tion may oc­cur when hail wounds are fresh, other symp­toms may not show up un­til months later. Grow­ers were ad­vised to check the Canopy web­site (https://canopy.zespri.com) for ad­vice on look­ing after hail dam­aged crops.

AV­O­CADO CROPS ALSO SUF­FER

Some of Seeka's av­o­cado or­chards were also hit by the hail. Si­mon Wells said dam­age to ma­ture fruit was min­i­mal in most cases but on some or­chards a lot of flow­ers had been knocked off and this would af­fect next year's crop.

At Te Puke, Trevelyan's av­o­cado man­ager Daniel Birnie said he had seen av­o­ca­dos with cut skin and in­den­ta­tions which would make the fruit un­mar­ketable, but over­all the dam­age after the ini­tial storm was less than 1% of their to­tal crop.

“I have seen one or­chard at Wel­come Bay with quite se­ri­ous dam­age and a ki­wifruit or­chard with its leaves shred­ded that has prob­a­bly lost a quar­ter of its crop, but for­tu­nately the dam­age here was not wide­spread.”

Short but se­vere hail storms in the Bay of Plenty on Novem­ber 6 and 13 caused se­vere dam­age to some or­chards and around 11 of those are likely to have their crops writ­ten off.

HAIL ADDS TO DROP IN PACK-OUT RATES

Av­o­cado ex­port pack-out rates al­ready af­fected by se­vere gales a month ear­lier, plus frost in Septem­ber, were ex­pected to be fur­ther re­duced by hail dam­age. Early in the sea­son there were re­ports in the Bay of Plenty of crops with pack­outs close to 80% and even 90%. After the hail storms and gales how­ever, at least one pack­house was re­port­ing av­er­age ex­port pack-outs as low as 67.5%.

Grow­ers were warned that where ma­ture fruit has been ex­posed to hail it might also de­velop peel bruis­ing which could take a while to show up – first as small grey­ish spots which go black over time.

Jonathan Dixon, av­o­cado business man­ager for Seeka, said trees which had lost all of their flow­ers and newly set fruit be­cause of the hail would need to have their fer­tiliser pro­gramme ad­justed.

Old hail dam­age show­ing up at the 2009 har­vest after a se­vere hail strike in Fe­bru­ary.

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