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Growers enjoying a drier spring

The district’s summer and autumn croppers have started to get sweetcorn, maize and squash plants in the ground, and a start will be made shortly on tomatoes.

Milder and drier weather conditions have helped after a wet start to planting for some crops like peas.

Cedenco’s peas, the first of the summer crops, have been coming through in the past week and starting to flower.

“We anticipate the peas will be ready to harvest in early November,” said general manager Darryl Hudson.

A forecast figure of 2000 tonnes has been predicted for the pea crop this season.

“The sweet corn planting for the season was affected by the wet winter to start with but it’s coming right now with the better weather.

“We expect to plant two-and-a-half-thousand hectares in sweetcorn this season, and harvest around 40,000 tonnes from some time in mid-January.”

Mr Hudson said the company would start to plant its tomato crop next week.

“That harvest from the start of February should produce a crop of around 20,000 tonnes.”

Maize croppers have been busy too.

“We started our planting last week around Gisborne, Wairoa and Tolaga Bay,” said Corson Grain procurement manager Richard Hyland.

“We should have the bulk of it in by the end of this month.”

Mr Hyland said weather conditions were very favourable.

“We are looking forward to a good season and we will produce around 18,000 tonnes of grain, similar to last year.”

Glencore Grain started their planting programme on Monday.

“We were probably about a week behind schedule because of the wetter conditions in the past few weeks,” said regional manager Dave Corrin.

“There’s still a bit of moisture in some of the paddocks but once the equinoxial winds arrive, that moisture will disappear quite quickly.”

Glencore Grain has a three to four-week planting programme.

“Our anticipated tonnage will be around 11,000 tonnes, which is up on last year.”

LeaderBrand’s squash programme has been under way for several weeks.

“It has been difficult because of the number of rain days but generally things are looking pretty good,” said general manager Richard Burke.

“The timing of the harvest should be similar to previous seasons. There does not look to be anything weather-wise that should hold it up.

“The first of our squash should start to head overseas before Christmas.”

Mr Burke said there would be a few gaps in production caused by the wet weather in September.

“But I feel sure that everyone will catch up.”

Leaderbrand‘s salad crop programme did not stop, he said. Some crops had done well through spring, others not so.

“It has been quite a mixed spring so far because of the number of rain days.”

Bud burst has been under way for some time for the district’s grape crop.Gisborne Grape Growers president Annie Millton says the weather is encouraging fairly rapid bud burst and growth on the vines.

“Spring is always an interesting time for any grower, because of the part weather can play.

“It can be beautiful one day and not so beautiful the next.

“Bud burst looks very even at this stage.

“That means the canopy growth is nice and even, and that makes for a good start to the season.”

Each part of the region has a different time frame for bud burst.

“The Ormond area tends to be first because it’s more inland, and more protected from the southerlies, then it moves to places like Manutuke later.”

It was interesting this year to see the results of early and late pruning.

“Early pruning produced an early bud burst, late pruning a later bud burst, and that gives growers a variance in grape ripening and harvest.”

The district’s summer and autumn croppers are flat out planting this season’s sweetcorn, maize and squash crops, with a start to be made next week by Cedenco on tomatoes. The milder, drier weather recently has been a big help, says Corson Grain procurement manager Richard Hyland (pictured). Bud burst is going well as well for the district’s grape growers. Picture by Liam Clayton
SPRING BUDS: The district’s grape growers have been enjoying spring lately, with a nice even bud-burst on the vines. It means even canopies for the grapes and augers well for a good season, says Gisborne Grape Growers president Annie Millton (above). The milder spring weather recently has been well received by all croppers. Picture by Paul Rickard