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Arable Farmers Search For Summer

Canterbury arable farmers are beginning to feel the effects of the inclement weather that North Islanders have been experiencing since the beginning of spring says Neil Barton, Chairman of the Grains Council.

“North Island farmers have been battling wet weather conditions since the beginning of the spring and the maize growers have struggled with late plantings, drowned crops and replanting," said Mr Barton.

"There are reports of barley crops that have been replanted three times. Maize yields are expected to be below average, with some sweet corn crops being abandoned altogether.

“Canterbury farmers, up to now have had an excellent growing season with farmers anticipating good yields and prices at higher nominal levels than they have been for several years. Unfortunately, the excessive wet weather has started to undermine the excellent conditions earlier on in the season.

“Many grass seed crops are either cut or ready to cut, but the rain has frustrated harvest and may ultimately prevent the harvest of some crops. Other crops such as peas are succumbing to fungal diseases such as footrot and lower pods on seed pea crops are showing signs of sprout damage.

"The wet overcast conditions are inhibiting pollination in clover seed crops, which will reduce yields. Heavy rainfall on already heavy crops causes lodging (falling over) which not only makes harvesting the crop very difficult, but delays the drying process. Should current conditions persist those crops are more susceptible to sprout damage, which severely reduces the quality of grain.

“Like holiday makers, farmers would like to see the return to usual summer weather with good drying conditions which will allow farmers to get on with harvest before quality is further reduced.”


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