It’s been a dog of a year
Tomato prices have been at levels in November, and December I have not seen in 20 or more years. The growers that have been picking during this period have recouped some much-needed returns and hopefully this will level out with what they lost last season, during some of the lowest returns I have seen in 20 years.
As an industry a lot of work has been done to gather information and to provide solutions to growers. A special mention to the tireless work from Helen Barnes and Karen Orr from TNZ, who have gone above and beyond.
Cucumber crops have been performing well with the normal issues to deal with but there have been no major disasters.
It is great to here and see the development of other covered crop industries – it is really ramping up in New Zealand and there will be countless other structures built in the coming years. It is certainly an industry on the rise, and this can only bode well for our economy in the future.
Growers in Australia I consult to are also doing well with some very tidy crops. Covid has meant a lot of video conferences which have their difficulties, but we have managed this well.
2021 has been another very strange year. Covid-19 has, yet again, had far too much influence on our day to day lives. For many growers it has been for the most part carrying on as normal in our bubbles. Unlike the hospitality industry we have been fortunate to keep working without too many large disruptions (yet). Careful management of small teams within some properties has been implemented to prevent mass shutdowns. It is a tricky and fluid situation.
2021 also brought the tomato industry the Pepino Mosaic Virus (PepMV) – a real blow, that has been struck by several bio-security issues within a short space of time. We are still unsure how this strain of PepMV will affect crops during the high light period. Like Covid a vaccine or inoculation will be our best defence but due to the bio-security rules there are some extremely high hurdles to jump before we get to that point. So, growers will be at the mercy of the strain that has been identified for the foreseeable future. This is not an ideal situation. Growers, that do not have the virus, require some very strict hygiene protocols in place to prevent the virus taking hold.
Cucumber prices have been fair to average this year with some pressure currently. Currently tomato pricing is good, and this must be due to supply and demand. Some growers may have also changed from tomatoes to cucumbers because of the PepMV. It is, without having all the information, a guessing game but this could be an explanation.
The cost of importing goods has done something worse than skyrocket more like a supersonic missile increase. The impact of this will be passed onto the growers. This will lead to growers either cutting back or less willing to maintain crop health. It is a difficult time to control expenses.
Marie and I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I know you will be busy but hope you have time to enjoy with family and friends at this hectic time of the year. We will be taking a short break and be back with our new exciting website in the new year. We look forward to bringing you all the growing information you need to know again next year. Thanks to all our readers and to all the contributors and advertisers that have supported us this year – we will be back bigger and better in 2022
Best wishes from Marie and Stefan the Grower2Grower team
Cover photo sent by Steve Dickson: As you can see by the faded colour it has been a well-worn hat. Holly (the dog) loves carrying it around and when I can't find it all I have to say to her is "where is the hat" and she searches high and low and brings it to me.