Consistent rain in the North Island has impacted harvesting and planting schedules and is causing vegetable shortages and quality issues. Chief executive of LeaderBrand, Richard Burke, says Gisborne normally has a long, dry summer and the firms’ growers tend to worry about water shortages but this year growers had double the amount of rain they expected creating wet paddocks which were hard for tractors to access to plant vegetables or to harvest. Leaderbrand had planned their planting schedules for Gisborne to be wet, but had not expected the entire North Island and its farms in Pukekohe and Matamata to receive so much rain. Richard Burke is also expecting delays in watermelon and sweetcorn harvest because of wet weather conditions. At this time of year the company usually has plenty of watermelon, corn, iceberg lettuce and salads. A customer snapped a photo of a watermelon at a New World supermarket dubbed a “monster”, with the eye-watering price of $46.68.