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Hortgro Stone Fruit On Tree Web

News from our production regions


Representative: Neil-Pierre Strydom

The Langkloof had an above-average harvest this year. For the first time in years, all farmers had enough water in their dams to see the season through.

On the Western side of the Kloof, rain decreased a little, and consequently, the fruit was smaller. Harvests and fruit sizes, similar to 2021, can be expected. We already had hail storms, but the damage was minimized by drape nets that were installed last year.

I am sure our worries are the same as the rest of the fruit industry. The conflict in Russia had had an impact on markets and the prices of fuel and fertilizer. Additionally, the ongoing issues with the harbours and transport have escalated prices.

Eastern Free state

 Representative: Helen Punt

The Winter rainfall Eastern Free State region is known for its grains and productive annual crops. The typical Savanna region is also popular for cattle farming and other livestock farming. However, in 1991 the first pioneering producer planted the first apples in the region and he has never looked back.

Today the apple industry of the Highveld makes out about 3% of the South-African deciduous fruit industry.  The E-FS industry is growing at a rapid pace. However not without its challenges. Frost and hail, just to name a few. In Spring temperatures can dip as low as minus 6 degrees Celsius.  In these instances frost damage is inevitable, and 30% to 100% of the crop could be lost overnight. Hail nets are essential to prevent fruit and tree damage during hailstorms, but this too could have devastating effects on infrastructure. Progressive defects, such as bitter pit, calcium spot, and internal browning on varieties like Royal Gala & Fuji are also common in some years.

The question then is: “Why do the hectarage keep on growing even when facing these challenging?”

There are a few advantages of the Highveld compared to other areas. One, it has more than sufficient cold units in Winter, we are early with Royal Gala and all other commercial varieties, sufficient water supply, affordable, arable land, and plenty of virgin soil.  Apart from these advantages marketing-wise, we are close to some of the biggest cities in South Africa and close to our neighbouring countries. Our Durban port seems to be in a slightly more efficient situation due to less out bounding fresh cargo, during the Summer months. We are also well-known for our bi-coloured apples such as Pink Lady and Royal Gala. These new varieties coming through, combined with our exceptionally cool weather, are a recipe for success.

Currently, we are indeed riding the wave of success. The past Spring we had sufficient cold units, with minimal frost. Thus, a fruitful 2022 season awaits us. Crops were double the amount compared to other years, new varieties that were planted a few years ago came into full baring and the market is screaming for apples. The perfect season. Every single farmer knows that all the effort in the world does not bring a full crop like this along every year. We are thankful. In our hearts, we are so thankful to our Heavenly Father for supplying us with enough resources, patience, and wisdom to make the 2022 season a year to remember.

The future of Highveld apples is bright.


Verteenwoordiger: Suretha Deetlefs

Die vroeë somer was baie koel vanjaar wat swakker hitte-eenhede in die seldelingsperiode tot gevolg gehad het. Veral die pere wat vroeër in blom was, was meer geaffekteer.Ons sukkel met vruggrootte op veral vroeë somer pere – Early Bon Chretien, Rosemarie en Flamingo.  Gevolglik het ons ook ‘n langer groeiseisoen gehad en het ± 10 dae later begin oes.  Januarie en Februarie se hitte-eenhede bevestig die hoeveelheid sonbrand wat ons tans tydens oes aan bome waarneem.  Bome onder hitte-stres en die baie stof het ook Bryobia / rooispinnekop getalle op pere laat toeneem.

Die groter Ceres-area was geseënd om die seisoen af te skop met vol damme.

Die Cheeky, Abate Fetel en Packham’s Triumph het goeie kwaliteit tonne gelewer met veral Packham’s wat een van die grootste oeste het.  Forelle is amper twee weke later as laasjaar, ek sal sê een van die laatste jare en interessant is dat laat areas in Ceres wat normaalweg laat FEMA vrystelling kry, vanjaar eerste is.

Appels met ’n kort groeiperiode, soos Panorama en Gala, was ook soortgelyk aan die somer pere negatief beïnvloed, met kleiner vruggrootte en ’n later aanvang van oes.  Die res van die mid- en laat seisoen appels is minder geaffekteer.  Panorama Goldens het reeds die risiko t.o.v. potensiële bitterpit probleme vir die seisoen uitgewys waarop die area pro-aktief op ander kultivars optree.

Bigbucks het begin inskop en die nuwe aanplantings het goeie kwaliteit tonne gegee met minder sonbrand as verwag.  Januarie en Februarie temperature het ook bygedra tot swakker kleurontwikkeling op die verskillende Gala klone.

Sover lyk dit in geheel na ’n baie goeie volume en kwaliteitseisoen rakende die res van die appelkultivars, mits die normale herfs temperature goeie kleur tot gevolg sal hê.  Gegewe die JTD se goeie volume en kwaliteit van die appels en pere, is die omgewing se infrastruktuur onder geweldige druk.

Die probleme met die Kaapstadse hawe en beskikbare koelhouers bly ’n kopseer vir bemarkers om betyds vrugte in verskeie markte te kry.

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