Weather tests Cen­tral grow­ers

The Orchardist - - Contents - Story and photo by Dianne King

Frosts and hail were ex­pe­ri­enced through­out Novem­ber.

Poor pol­li­na­tion dur­ing the crit­i­cal pe­riod for apri­cots cut crop sizes through­out the dis­trict and vol­umes are de­scribed as patchy to av­er­age.

A short­age in apri­cot crop vol­umes gen­er­ally re­sults in larger fruit which leads to good mar­ket re­turns.

Sum­mer­fruit grow­ers had a long run of con­tin­u­ous frosts for 18 nights out of 20, and frost alerts for both sum­mer­fruit and pipfruit con­tin­ued through midNovem­ber as tem­per­a­tures dropped to freez­ing after blasts of southerly weather.

Pipfruit New Zealand Otago di­rec­tor Stephen Dar­ling, of Ettrick, said while there had been a very change­able spring, grow­ers were look­ing for­ward to warmer weather for fruit de­vel­op­ment.

“We're ner­vous about the weather con­di­tions.” Cen­tral Otago Fruit­grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Jeremy His­cock, an Earn­scle­ugh orchardist, said apri­cot crops were ham­pered by poor weather for pol­li­na­tion, and crop vol­ume es­ti­mates range from 30% to 70%, de­pend­ing on the var­i­ous ar­eas within the wider dis­trict.

“We had some hail in Earn­scle­ugh but it was along with rain shower, so I don't think any dam­age would af­fect the crops.”

Cherry crops are “buoy­ant” across all dis­tricts after the best pol­li­na­tion “we've had in a very long time”.

Iso­lated hail storms dam­aged fruit va­ri­eties on or­chards and vine­yards, par­tic­u­larly in the Cromwell area.

At this stage, the hail­storm ef­fects are not con­sid­ered as bad as in the other fruit­grow­ing ar­eas.

Early va­ri­eties of cher­ries were be­ing har­vested by late Novem­ber even though some grow­ers judged the crop as be­ing about two weeks later than pre­vi­ous years.

The sea­son's prospects were a topic of con­ver­sa­tion among about 40 of Cen­tral's fruit­grow­ers and fam­i­lies at a bar­be­cue get-to­gether re­cently.

“We have to man­age with what we have,” Jeremy says.

Cen­tral Otago fruit­grow­ers are feel­ing the ef­fects of the same test­ing weather which hit fel­low grow­ers in Hawke’s Bay, Ti­maru and Nel­son.

Cen­tral Otago cher­ries from Cromwell

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.