Kūmara growers make haste while the sun shines

A hot sunny Easter in Northland has brought a reprieve for kūmara growers trying to get crops in after the wet summer.

Photo: RNZ / Alison Ballance

Continual rain has slowed the harvest, turning soil to mud and forcing growers to plough up the tubers instead of using harvesters.

But general manager of Delta Produce, Lachie Wilson, said it was unlikely they would have to leave .

“As long as we don‘t get any more rain on top, it‘ll be damp, but I don‘t think we‘ll experience the rot issues that we had last year and the crops not being able to get out of the ground.”

Growers had made the most of the fine spell over the Easter break; about half the crop was now in, and if the rain held off the harvest should be complete by mid-May, he said.

Mr Wilson said the kūmara crop would be lighter again this year, after the hot humid start to summer, and the price was likely to stay about $10 a kilo.

Delta Produce represents about 22 growers, and accounts for about 50 percent of the Northland kūmara crop.