Rain, humidity, a blessing and a curse

CROPPERS, farmers and grapegrowers have watched the weather forecasts more closely in the past week and there has been some concern with seven days out of the next 10 forecast to have more high daytime temperatures and moist, humid air.

Gisborne has already met the February average for rainfall with half the month still to go.

The heavy downpours on Monday brought 34 millimetres in just a couple of hours to the city. The rain has been a blessing but at the same time somewhat of a curse for farmers.

Federated Farmers provincial president Charlie Reynolds said the consistent rain was “bloody useful” and it will certainly keep the good grass growth throughout the district.

However, he said the high humidity associated with it was certainly sending facial eczema spore count numbers through the roof.

“The reports I have seen from veterinarians indicate spore counts are extremely high in many places.

“It seems to be generally everywhere, particularly around Te Karaka, though up the East Coast is not too bad.”

With the start of the main grape harvest only a few weeks away now, grapegrowers have been on edge, said long time grower and former president of the Gisborne Winegrowers Association, Doug Bell.

“It is fair to say we are nervous, but not worried at this stage about the weather,” he said.

“Warm and moist air is not ideal for growing grapes, and it can generate fungus that damages them.

“But so far the crops look to be in very good condition,” Mr Bell said.

“Growers have done everything they can to protect their grapes. Essentially, there’s nothing more they can do. Now we’ve got to just wait on the weather.”

Cedenco Foods managing director Tim Chrisp said the company had just entered the peak period of its sweetcorn, tomato and squash harvests.

“The factory and team are at full capacity and we hope there are no serious disruptions weather-wise.”

Mr Chrisp said their tomato harvest was disrupted a bit at the weekend because of the rain.

“We are currently waiting for some paddocks to drain properly so we can recommence the tomato harvest.

“We are watching the weather like everyone else, and hoping for a strong season.”

CROPPERS, farmers and grapegrowers have watched the weather forecasts more closely in the past week and there has been some concern with seven days out of the next 10 forecast to have more high daytime temperatures and moist, humid air.

Gisborne has already met the February average for rainfall with half the month still to go.

The heavy downpours on Monday brought 34 millimetres in just a couple of hours to the city. The rain has been a blessing but at the same time somewhat of a curse for farmers.

Federated Farmers provincial president Charlie Reynolds said the consistent rain was “bloody useful” and it will certainly keep the good grass growth throughout the district.

However, he said the high humidity associated with it was certainly sending facial eczema spore count numbers through the roof.

“The reports I have seen from veterinarians indicate spore counts are extremely high in many places.

“It seems to be generally everywhere, particularly around Te Karaka, though up the East Coast is not too bad.”

With the start of the main grape harvest only a few weeks away now, grapegrowers have been on edge, said long time grower and former president of the Gisborne Winegrowers Association, Doug Bell.

“It is fair to say we are nervous, but not worried at this stage about the weather,” he said.

“Warm and moist air is not ideal for growing grapes, and it can generate fungus that damages them.

“But so far the crops look to be in very good condition,” Mr Bell said.

“Growers have done everything they can to protect their grapes. Essentially, there’s nothing more they can do. Now we’ve got to just wait on the weather.”

Cedenco Foods managing director Tim Chrisp said the company had just entered the peak period of its sweetcorn, tomato and squash harvests.

“The factory and team are at full capacity and we hope there are no serious disruptions weather-wise.”

Mr Chrisp said their tomato harvest was disrupted a bit at the weekend because of the rain.

“We are currently waiting for some paddocks to drain properly so we can recommence the tomato harvest.

“We are watching the weather like everyone else, and hoping for a strong season.”

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