21 Jan 2015

Onion growers facing challenges

2:40 pm on 21 January 2015

Dry warm weather that has brought relief to onion growers in South Auckland before Christmas may not be so good for exporters.

The export season is just beginning to get underway but it is predicted that the size and yield of onion crops could be affected if the current hot weather continues.

New Zealand Growers spokesperson Martin Tribe said growers in Pukekohe needed warmer, drier weather after a difficult spring but following that there was a risk later crops could suffer.

He said it could be a difficult season for onion growers to get viable returns.

"Overall the difficulty coming is that obviously that the weather patterns for Pukekohe, where a big part of the crop is grown, has created some growing issues and we're still two or three weeks away from seeing the reality of that.

"Following that, is the Northern Hemisphere generally has extremely good crops, through USA, Japan and Northern Europe and obviously currency is very much against us."

But Mr Tribe said it might not be all bad news, depending on what happened overseas.

"What we see is especially in Europe, which is an important export sector for New Zealand, if they have a very difficult spring, a cold late spring or a very wet spring, it delays their planting and that potentially might give us an extra couple of weeks sales late in the season."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs