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Bizarre weather hits stonefruit growers

New Zealand
Image: CHRISTINE CORNEGE/The Marlborough Express
ASSESSING THE DAMAGE: Marlborough stonefruit grower Murray Neal says the weather has been too cold for good pollination.

Story: Variable weather in September has produced mixed pollination results for stonefruit growers in Marlborough. Recent rain has reduced pollination of apricot, nectarine and peach crops. "We have been growing stone fruit since 1978 and it has to be THE MOST BIZARRE PERIOD OF WEATHER WE HAVE SEEN." The prolonged cold and wet spell is UNUSUAL. "Bees require some warmth and not rain to work." Cherry growers around the district appear to have avoided damage because of their later flowering. Flowering lasted for about three weeks and the bees had about three days to pollinate flowers once they blossomed. Cherry trees were blossoming a little later than last year because of the cold weather. "The problem is that when we have had good days it has been windy."

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