11 Nov Rain covers key to quality and supply
New Zealand cherry grower Cherri Global is working towards having 100% of their mature cherry production under rain covers for the coming 2021-22 season.
Following the record-breaking rainfall on January 1, 2021 that hit the Otago region and wiped out around 40-50% of the remaining cherry crops Cherri Global vowed to take matters into their own hands.
“We saw rain covers as being imperative for the long term success of our business. We can’t control the weather but rain covers basically guarantees quality and supply for our customers which gives us a real point of difference,” said Cherri Global CEO Phil Alison.
Cherri Global has made significant investment into rain covers which are ventilated for air flow to ensure that the cherries don’t overheat.
“There are benefits beyond just protecting cherries from rain. Rain covers also enable us to harvest at peak ripeness and not be dictated by the weather. There is also some evidence to suggest that cherries grow bigger under the covers so we are excited to experience these benefits too”, said Alison.
Cherri Global has a rapid growth plan which will see their production increase from 450 tonnes to 2,000 tonnes+ in the next three seasons. Although most of the increased production is in the Otago region, three new orchards have been planted in Hawke’s Bay in order to increase the supply of early New Zealand cherries for export.
Alison said Cherri Global aims to be the only grower/exporter their partners need for New Zealand cherries. “By increasing our supply window as well as volume, means we can handle the full season requirements of our customers.”
“The coming season is shaping up to be a great one, we have had excellent winter chilling hours and pollination is under way. We expect good quality, size and crop loading this season.”
Given the significant growth Cherri Global is expecting, they are currently seeking interest from new buyers requiring New Zealand cherries.