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Nearly a Years Rainfall in Half The time!
Consistently wet weather has been a huge challenge for growers. Protected cropping is one solution.
This year the weather in much of the North Island has seen rain rain and more rain.
For greenhouse growers it has been a difficult year due to a lack of sunshine hours and high humidities. The reduction in light levels has been up 12% across the upper North Island (using light data collected from clients). This has, without doubt in my mind, directly impacted production.
Warm nights during April and May, have made it difficult to set fruit with observed abortion in commercial cucumber crops. Cucumber crops as a result of the weather, were further impacted with Fusarium and Pythium issues. However, for growers that have grafted plants there has been a good level of protection.
GOLD KIWIFRUIT (opinion)
The fruit I most like to consume is Gold Kiwifruit. The Gold we have purchased this season have been bland and noticeably unripe. It is not scientific; however, I do eat a kiwi a day but have yet to have a super sweet tasting Gold this season.
It is not rocket-science to make a connection between, high rain falls, large fruit and lower brix – add in the low sunshine hours and it all makes for a difficult growing season.
Other consideration I have are: could this be due to picking before fruit were ripe enough, (however, it has not been a ‘one of’ but months of purchasing) or has the high rain fall caused fertiliser leaching, therefore a lack of available nutrients?
One Easy Solution:
A solution is protected cropping. I see new Kiwifruit orchards being built with huge netted covers, mainly for wind protection. The cost of this must be exorbitant and yet it doesn’t protect crops from high rainfall.
Gold Kiwifruit is a high value product, and without understating this, extremely important to this country’s prosperity. Poor or adverse weather conditions could be negated by using protection and could benefit growers in terms of consistency and fruit quality year after year. High wind events may impact with temporary damage to polytunnel structures but with established boundary wind protection the positives out way any negative in my mind.
- Improved fruit quality.
- Higher Brix.
- Controlled irrigation – reduce fertiliser, apply the correct fertiliser balance, maintain balanced soil moisture content. Limit leaching.
- Reduce fugal pressure.
- Potentially reduce spraying.
- Harvest during wet conditions.
- Prune during wet conditions.
The only thing that protected cropping will not improve are sunshine hours – that is up to Mother Nature!
Article compiled by Stefan Vogrincic
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