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New Zealand: Hail devastates Canterbury vegetable crops

An intense hailstorm in South Canterbury and mid-Canterbury this week caused widespread damage to crops, including vegetables destined for the home and international markets. Driving rain and hailstones the size of golf balls came down on Wednesday afternoon.

The extent of damage from the storm has raised the prospect of higher vegetable prices. Some farmers are reporting up to half of their crops were damaged.

Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group vice chairman Brian Leadley farms near Ashburton, mid-Canterbury, and said peas, sweet corn and potatoes in the early stages of growth have been particularly hard hit: "A large part of that is into the domestic market, particularly the peas we grow as well as sweet corn and potatoes both domestic and export, I believe have been particularly hard hit. Just the stage those potatoes were at; a lot of them had just come up through the ground nice and softly. A lot of that leaf has been stripped off."

Mr Leadley told that the extent of the damage would depend on how advanced the crops were in terms of ripening.

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