New Zealand: Extreme wet winter conditions devastate potato crops

An unprecedented wet season has caused potatoes to rot in the ground before they could be harvested in some areas in New Zealand, with one Horowhenua farmer losing 100 tonnes from a single paddock. Opiki potato farmer, Mike Moleta has been working his family farm for two decades, and his father for six decades before him. He said that in all that time they had never experienced weather so extreme. The potatoes, planted on their Opiki farm during October last year, were due to be harvested from April onwards. However, because of unprecedented rainfall, Moleta could only stand by as his potatoes began to rot in the ground. He said, generally speaking, potatoes could only last for 24 hours if they were under water, but his were under water for two or three days at a time. “The potato rows were full of water [for days] in April, May, and July and again in August,” he said. More