24 Dec 2008

Cherry crops hit by rain

6:07 am on 24 December 2008

Rain has brought a premature halt to exports of cherries from Marlborough. It also caused some losses in the biggest cherry growing region, Central Otago.

Marlborough supplies most of the pre-Christmas cherries for the domestic market and for export.

One of the region's biggest cherry growers, Paul Kinzett, says they were about two-thirds of the way through the harvest when rain destroyed most of the remainingg crop.

Consignments were sent to South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand before the rain, but he says it has been a salvage operation since then. Only a few days' picking are left this season.

Central Otago cherry grower Gary Bennetts says rain in the past few days caused some damage, but the main export crop is largely undamaged.