fbpx
Print this page
Friday, 17 December 2021 07:55

Major crop losses as persistent rain pounds Horowhenua

Written by  Peter Burke
Potato crops surrounded by water in Levin. Potato crops surrounded by water in Levin.

Commercial growers in the Horowhenua region in the lower North Island are facing significant crop losses as a result of persistent and devastating rains over the last two weeks.

It’s estimated that 300ml of rain have fallen – three times the normal rainfall for December.

Tararua Vegetable Growers Association president Terry Olsen says it’s not uncommon to have a wet December but he’s never seen anything like this.

The worst hit area appears to be Levin and south of the rural township. Crops such as lettuces and brassicas can be seen surrounded by water - as are potato crops. There are predictions of some vegetables being in short supply both now and in the future because growers can’t get on the wet paddocks to sow new seedlings

One strawberry grower says he faces the prospect of losing about half his crop due to the rains. When visited by Rural News he was trying to salvage some of his crop by drying it out, and then pointed to buckets of strawberries that are having to be thrown out.

Kevin Donovan FBTW

Strawberry grower Kevin Donovan drying out strawberries which have just been picked.

Terry Olsen says there’s been a complete lack of the sunshine needed to grow crops and to dry out the land.  

“The ground is so sodden that you can’t get out a tractor and even when the rain stops it’s a matter of waiting until it is dry enough to get machinery out on the land,” he says.

Olsen is a potato grower and says some of his and other farmers’ crop will be lost and just rot in the ground. He says the problem is showing no sign of getting better with more rain forecast for the coming days.

Olsen says at this stage it’s too hard to quantify the losses and says this won’t be possible at least until the rain stops.

In addition to the crops being affected, the rain has also caused trees to fall on many farms and other infrastructure on farms has also been affected.

More like this

Horror rainfalls!

It will take between six to eight months for commercial growers in the Horowhenua region to fully recover from the disastrous heavy rains that hit the region in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Farmers send clear message

A cacophany of sounds - barking dogs, the roar of tractors and tooting ute horns - descended on towns and cities around the country on Friday, July 16.

FE arrives early

Facial eczema (FE) has hit Horowhenua much earlier than normal due to lots of rain and high temperatures.

National

Machinery & Products

A new approach to apprenticeships

By taking a new approach to its apprenticeship programme, agricultural equipment supplier Norwood says it is ensuring farmers’ machinery will…

Buck-Rake does the job

With many self-propelled forage harvester manufacturers offering machines hitting 1000hp, the bottleneck in any harvesting system is always likely to…

Pigtail standards made to last

Feedback from farmers highlighted frustration at the time and cost involved in frequently replacing failed pigtail posts.