It's been a tough season for vegetable growers in Horowhenua, who are still battling to recover from the wettest winter in decades.

Woodhaven Gardens owner, John Clarke has spent his life on the land and he's never had rainfall like it.

"This winter was probably the wettest winter I have seen in 38 years, and also along with the rain we had a lack of sunshine which made things very, very difficult."

Woodhaven Gardens grow 22 different kinds of vegetables and employs 250 staff in the peak season.


Clarke estimated he lost approximately 20-30 per cent yield across all crops, and said quality dropped too.

And although the ground has now dried up, earlier this year it was virtually underwater with MetService figures showing three times the average monthly rainfall in April and double the average in August.

"The effect we've had now is that the crops that we had planted in the middle of winter, that we were looking to harvest now and going on for the next month, weren't very good at all.

"The establishment wasn't good, the ground was too wet, and now it's dried up the ground has gone very, very hard, so we are seeing crops go backwards quickly at the moment."

At Tender Tips, just north of Levin, Geoff Lewis has been growing asparagus for over three decades and echoed that 2017 has been the wettest winter he has ever seen.

Asparagus plants are perennial vegetables and they live underground for 15 to 17 years before throwing up shoots.

"Most of those plants have been underwater for weeks and months and we have been very concerned about the health of those plants. We didn't even know if they were going to survive," he said.

The wet weather has been bad news for customers too, with slim pickings and higher prices at the supermarket.


"Supermarkets had a lot of trouble getting promotional programmes out because there weren't the volumes.

"Some promoted quite strongly and then couldn't because there weren't the crops nationally," Lewis said.

But with better weather in the past few weeks, business is back to normal.

"Now things are good. Production is up and we are now able to satisfy the New Zealand customers, and the Japanese market as well."

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