Bean growers enjoy high yields
A hot Canterbury summer has brought out the best in green bean crops coming through harvesting 16 per cent ahead of yield forecasts.
Green beans contracted to processor and exporter Wattie's have flourished in the dry conditions with bean processing at its Hornby plant expected to wind up today.
South Island agricultural manager Mark Daniels said the crop had produced excellent yields of beans which were of blemish-free quality because they were free from disease during a dry summer.
"In terms of yield it's been the best growing season in recent years."
Daniels said growers had managed to get water to irrigated crops from February after the cereal crop harvest and that had helped lift yields.
He said the higher crop yields showed what a good growing season could do to bean production. Bean plantings, extending in a farmland belt from Hornby to the Rakaia River, were on a par with last season with harvesting finishing slightly ahead of the last few years.
The bean crop includes yellow "butter" beans and is processed into frozen vegetable products as well as frozen and canned soups and meal products. The bulk will be eaten domestically and about 20 per cent exported.
Christchurch operations manager Trevor Biggs said beans were a fussier crop to process than peas with some sliced, cut or left whole for different products.
Colour sorting equipment installed last season at the Hornby plant had lifted quality and the operation's efficiency, he said.
Baby carrots are being lifted now with the main harvest to carry through to the end of August. Broad bean planting will start at the end of next week.