Rain stops bees from pollinating

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 13:56 30/12/2013

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The rain has not only sent holidaymakers hunkering down with a book, but bees are retreating to their sheltered hives instead of pollinating crops.

Mid-Canterbury farmer David Clark said the wet weather was good for the self-pollinating crops like cereals, but the flowering crops like potatoes, carrots and radishes needed sun and heat.

''We just need a chance for the weather to go back to typical hot summer weather so the bees can get to work,'' said Clark, who is the Federated Farmers grain and seed chairman.

Our cereals are looking magnificent, but we've got carrot and radish crops that are in flower with no bees working.

''The region had had two and half weeks of ''gluggy, easterly weather''.

''If vege crops didn't pollinate, that would have the same impact as a drought would on a dairy farm. But it's not a crisis at the moment.''

Clark hoped the weather would clear so the bees could join the holidaymakers.

Mayfield farmer Rab McDowell, whose crops were damaged in this month's hail storm, said it had actually offered ''a mixed blessing''.

The damage had knocked flowers off crops, meaning the delayed flowering would be ready for the bees once the rain had passed.

Non-irrigated crops were now yielding more than first thought in all the rain, which was compensating for the damage after the hail.

MetService meteorologist Tristan Oakley said Canterbury would have clear days at least until the weekend, but with northerly winds picking up on Thursday and Friday.

The country had been covered in rain after a low pressure weather system formed over the Tasman Sea, sending heavy rain over the North Island.

That front passed over the northern South Island on Sunday night, while another cold front came over the West Coast today.

Tomorrow was expected to be fine.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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