Of the “serious” pome fruit producers, South Africa, together with Brazil, have the production areas closest to the equator. This means higher summer temperatures and generally just altogether more plant stress and more fruit downgraded for processing compared to our major competitors. The great inefficiency of caring for fruit that ultimately ends up in a juice bin would have seriously endangered deciduous fruit production in South Africa if not for the favourable exchange rate.
It shouldn’t be surprising that research under this theme is predominantly aimed at decreasing sunburn and internal fruit quality defects brought about by photothermal stress. One of the key drivers of the second phase of the Orchard of the Future programme is also to increase the portion of the fruit on the tree that can be sold at the highest prices. Fruit production is a long term enterprise. A good handle on how future climate change may affect fruit production is therefore of considerable importance. Hence, we have commissioned Prof Stephanie Midgley and team to develop a scientific and practical guide to climate change and its predicted effects on pome and stone fruit production.
- Determining ‘Forelle’ pre-harvest mealiness / cavity development stage, due to environmental factors and exploring prevention of mealiness developing after storage and ripening. (E Crouch, L Schoeman and L-M Dippenaar) – also Physiological Defects, Post-Harvest Programme [Abstract]
- Scientific and practical guide to climate change and pome/stone fruit production in South Africa. (S Midgley) – see Dormancy and also Irrigation and Nutrition [Abstract]
- Adaptability indexing of new pome (apple) and stone fruit (plum) cultivars in diverse South African growing areas. (I Labuschagne and E Louw) – see Dormancy