Flooding in Auckland washed about 10 tonnes of onions from their paddock and onto a neighbour’s grass paddock. Pukekohe onion and potato grower Chris Nicholson says his farm received 140mm of rain in about four hours on Friday night. When he woke the next morning the water had blown across the paddock and taken all the onions with it. The damage would not have been as extensive if the onions were still growing and were held down by roots, but the crop had already been harvested and was in rows in paddocks to dry. Onions need to be wind dried in paddocks to prevent rot or mold, before they can be stored in a pack house. A tonne of onions was worth about $1000 per tonne and could expect to harvest between 50 tonnes to 70 tonnes of onions per hectare. And some Kiwifruit growers are also facing a huge clean up in Te Puke and the Bay of Plenty… with some orchards facing significant damage. Paul Jones says the true cost of the disaster may not be known until the harvest in March.
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