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Cropping Farmers Want Sunshine Too!

10 January 2000 PR1/2000


The yield potential of New Zealand's arable crops has been enhanced by recent rains, said Federated Farmers Grains Council Chairman Neil Barton.

Normal summer weather is now required to allow harvesting of the better than average crop. Arable crops will need high heat levels from now on to allow them to mature and ripen.

"Recent rains have increased the potential yield of arable crops. The heavy rains throughout New Zealand's arable areas, while frustrating the grass seed harvest, have not yet damaged crop quality," said Mr Barton.

"North Otago farmers are rejoicing in 40mm of rain, the heaviest rainfall since July 1999. While the crop potential is lower because of dry conditions earlier in the season, cereals have held on and should yield well."

Further north in Canterbury, regular rains throughout the growing season have produced exceptional crops. Unfortunately, the same regular rainfall has favoured fungal disease in some crops, which have required expensive preventative treatment to maintain crop health.

"Just like holidaymakers, grass seed growers are looking for sunshine and warmer temperatures, which will allow the harvest to begin. Many clover crops are still flowering, so farmers will be able to choose when to harvest. However, bird damage is appearing as a serious problem across all crops in many areas."

Heavy rain in the crop regions of the North Island, while delaying the harvesting of grass seed, has not caused any serious damage to seed quality. Cereals sown later in the season are able to use the available soil moisture levels to develop higher grain weight.

"The potential of arable crops has been boosted, and some normal summer weather will allow a better than average crop to be harvested," said Mr Barton.

ENDS For further information: Neil Barton 03-688-8238 or 021-441-125 Kevin Geddes 03-307-8148 or 025-203-3437

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