|Author: ||M. Nichols|
|Keywords: ||protected cropping, hydroponics, maritime climate|
New Zealand lies between 39S and 46S, but due to the surrounding Pacific Ocean has a mild winter climate compared with most similar Northern Hemisphere latitudes.
Berry fruit has been a relatively important horticultural sector, but the risk of rain at any time has been a major constraint for rain sensitive berries such as strawberries, and cane fruit.
A dynamic field grown blackcurrant industry has been established on the South Island primarily for processing, and using mechanical harvesting.
The development of relatively cheap high plastic tunnels, used mainly as rain shelters, but also to support bird netting, has resulted in recent years in the production of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, using hydroponics.
Such developments have generally not been by existing berry fruit growers, but by newcomers to the industry.
An even newer development has been the production of blueberries, primarily as a fresh export crop for Asian markets.
These are grown in high tunnels using hydroponics.
New Zealand has a big advantage over some other southern hemisphere countries as it is free from two fruit fly pests which (for example) prohibits fresh exports of fruit to Asia from most of Australia.
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