Corn harvest sweet as so far
Cedenco's annual processed sweetcorn harvest is reaping yields above expectations so far.
The weather has helped the sweetcorn but early squash crops around the region have experienced what has been described as “a bit of a roller coaster ride”.
Cedenco expects to harvest about 40,000 tonnes of sweetcorn between now and mid-April.
“We have started in paddocks around Te Karaka and so far the yields are coming in higher than budget,” said general manager Carla McCulloch.
Cedenco’s pick for corn powder started last week and its main frozen plant began processing on Tuesday.
“The product looks very good, with good sugars and moisture levels,” she said.
“Recent rain gave all our crops a good drink.”
The company will start its tomato harvest next Tuesday.
“We will target crops with lower levels of blemish for our tomato puree production,” Ms McCulloch said. “Then there will be a small gap in the harvest before we begin to pick crops for our more concentrated tomato paste products.
“The yields look OK for the tomatoes. We feel the crop will meet our budget yields.”
That will become clearer once they start the harvest.
Since before Christmas, export squash has been transported by road to Tauranga, then loaded on to ships bound for Japan.
The first boatload of squash from Gisborne left on January 12 on the Pacific Violet, destined for Kobe, Japan. It was a consignment of around 1100 tonnes.
The second shipment, around 1400 tonnes, was being loaded on to the freighter Southhampton Star today.
A third squash ship, the Asian Lily, arrives here early February.
“It has been a bit of roller coaster ride to start with because of the amount of rain in December,” said Coxco managing director Omi Badsar.
“The December rain was followed by very high temperatures this month.
“After too much rain, too much sun can put the crops under pressure, and that is what has happened.
“Our early crops will be a little below average in terms of yield, but the mid-to-late season should be OK . . . that’s what we are hoping for.
“We are happy with the quality of the squash coming out of the fields.”
Meanwhile, maize croppers have been rapt with how the weather has treated their crops.
“There have been excellent growing conditions for maize and the crops are looking really good,” said Richard Hyland of Corson Grain.
“The nice rain we had in December carried the crops through and the sunshine so far in January has finished them off . . . perfect conditions.”
An estimated total maize crop of around 40,000 tonne will be harvested this year, starting in early March.
“That’s a little earlier than usual.”