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Growing Season Climate

    South Africa, together with Brazil are of the “serious” pome fruit producers that have production areas closest to the equator. This means higher summer temperatures and generally, altogether more plant stress and fruit downgraded for processing compared to our major competitors. The great inefficiency of caring for fruit that ultimately ends up in a juice bin is that it significantly impacts the profitability of the South African industry, especially under the serious cost-constraining conditions that have been experienced during 2022. It should not be surprising that research under this theme is predominantly aimed at decreasing sunburn and internal fruit quality defects brought about by climatic stress. Building on a project that modelled climate change into the future at a regional level, Prof Stephanie Midgley is assisting Hortgro in developing a climate change strategy. The output of the project mentioned above is currently being incorporated into an App that will assist growers and technical advisors in long-term planning and site selection for new orchards.

    Dr Tara Southy of TerraClim initiated a new project to develop high-resolution topographical and climate maps for the Ceres fruit production region, also including Tulbagh and Wolseley. This follows a previous project that compiled these maps for the EGVV region. Dr Elke Crouch is investigating the link between temperature and radial internal browning in Cripps Pink and derivative apple cultivars. The project will hopefully allow us to develop an early warning internal browning prediction tool that will allow exporters to adjust their marketing strategies according to the risk of developing this disorder.


    Research Team

    • Dr Elke CrouchDr Tara Southey
    • Prof Stephanie Midgley
    • Dr Esmé Louw
    • Dr Iwan Labuschagne
    • Dr Elmi Lötze
    • Mr Daniël Viljoen
    • Ms Heleen Tayler
    • Mr Handré Viljoen
    • Ms Carina Wessels
    • Ms Anika Kock – MSc student
    • Ms Ineke de Jong – MSc student
    • Mr Tristan Dorfling – MSc student

    Projects list

    • Understanding heat and light tolerance of different apple genotypes planted in three contrasting climates. (E Louw)
    • Assessment of effectiveness of sunburn protectants on apples fixed shade nets in the EGVV region (D Viljoen)
    • Role of growing region temperature and cooling rate on ‘Cripps' Pink’ membrane lipid oxidation, antioxidant levels and internal browning. (H Tayler)
    • Suitability study for the South African Deciduous Fruit Industry focusing on climate adapted plums (pilot study). (T Southey)
    • Cherry adaptability. (C van Wyk)
    • Internal browning of ‘Cripps Pink’ apples – effect of growing region temperature on radial browning and effect of canopy position on long term storage quality. (E Crouch) [Abstract]
    • Historic and future modelling and mapping of early season temperature patterns and extremes, and impacts for pome and stone fruit production in South Africa. (S Midgley)
    • Quantification of the effect of near-harvest temperatures on pitburn and heat damage in cold stored plums and prediction method development. (H Viljoen) [Abstract]
    • Climate profiling and change analysis of the Elgin-Grabouw-Vyeboom-Villiersdorp (EGVV), Koue Bokkeveld (KBV) and Langkloof (LK) production areas specific to Pome fruit. (T Southey) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of the effect of drape nets on pear quality and productivity. (J Ladegourdie) [Abstract]
    • Evaluate the effect of drape nets on the overall fruit quality. (H Viljoen) [Abstract]
    • Enabling the calculation of carbon sequestration in the Confronting Climate Change Initiative's online carbon calculator. (C Smit) [Abstract]
    • Climate Change Response Strategy for the Deciduous Fruit Industry of South Africa. (S Midgley)
    • Cherry adaptability. (C van Wyk) [Abstract]
    • Effect of nets on growth, yield and fruit quality as well economic feasibility in plums. (K Theron and N van Rensburg [Abstract]
    • Heat damage in plums. (W Steyn, M Jooste and B Makeredza) [Abstract]
    • Quantifying the role of vapour pressure deficit in the development of lenticel breakdown in Braeburn apples (D Viljoen and E Lötze) [Abstract]
    • Langkloof Seminar – 24 November 2021
    • Hortgro Technical Symposium Day 1 – 6 June 2022
    • Hortgro Technical Symposium Day 2 – 7 June 2022
    • Hortgro Technical Symposium Field Day – 10 June 2022
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