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Another big lift in the Hawke’s Bay beetroot crop

December 6, 2012

Another big lift in the Hawke’s Bay beetroot crop

Early next week Wattie’s in the Hawke’s Bay will begin harvesting its beetroot crop which, at 22,000 tonne, will be 50 percent up on last year.

Wattie’s Crop Supply Agronomist Tim Agnew says that after some cooler temperatures in early and mid- November, warmer weather has had a dramatic effect on the crop, and it is “really kicking away” now.

“We will be harvesting baby beets from around December 10, and the harvest overall will continue through until May next year, although these plants are not yet in the ground.

“We made a big step up with the size of our crop last year - a five-fold increase to 14,500 tonnes - following the relocation of production from Australia to take advantage of the scale of our Hastings production site. We’ve now got a further significant lift in the total volume again this year.

“To accommodate such a steep increase in volumes has meant a lot more planning has gone into managing the production increase from planting through to processing the bigger crop. This is similar to the way in which we manage the tomato crop, planting out to match harvest and production several months down the track.”

Agnew says that in total there will be 16 weeks of harvesting, with a four-week interruption in March when Wattie’s fruit salad is scheduled to be made. All in all the Wattie’s beetroot harvesters have a big job ahead of them.”

Wattie’s uses the same beetroot variety (Globe) for its baby beets and ‘grown up’ beetroot which is sliced into large rounds for retail, as well as foodservice and restaurant customers for use in products like hamburgers.

The secret to achieving the exacting specifications for the heritage Wattie’s baby beets crop is creating a nursery effect by planting them three-times as densely as large sized beets. The result is perfect baby beets.

ENDS

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