6 Sep 2023

Peanut trial offers hope for new Northland home

1:46 pm on 6 September 2023
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Northland peanuts Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

The Northland peanut trials are back on track after a wash-out of last year's crops.

The three-year project is to see if Northland could be the new home to commercially-grown peanuts.

Greg Hall, Northland Inc.

Greg Hall from the Whangārei development agency Northland Inc. Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

The trials cover five hectares over five planting sites across Kaipara and the Far North.

Northland Inc project manager Greg Hall said results from the first year looked promising, so they hope to continue after last year's hiatus.

He said new seed has just landed in New Zealand and would be planted out now.

"They've just come out from Georgia in the United States, so they're still Spanish variety short season cultivars which are similar to what we imported from the first year out of India," he said.

"The very first season, there was even a very small trial, but that was indicating around somewhere between three and six tonnes per hectare, which is on average to what Australia produces.

He said they would do the business case and financial models for the project this season.

"That'll either prove one way or another, whether it's actually viable for an industry to pick up and then that will require investment to set up processing to stand the industry up," Hall said.

He said Pic Picot of Pic's Peanut Butter in Nelson was still backing the project.

"Pic was the project founder, he's a great champion and it's great to have him on board with this project."

They hoped for a hot summer which the peanuts like, he said.

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