Growing Season Climate

Growing Season Climate

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.


Projects list

Climate and terrain tool for the Elgin- Grabouw-Vyeboom-Villiersdorp production area specific to pome fruit. (T Southey) – see Farming technology
  • 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, E Louw, A Kock and T Dorfling) – see Dormancy [Abstract]
  • Effect of nets on growth, yield and fruit quality as well economic feasibility in plums. (K Theron and N van Rensburg [Abstract]
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 Dippe-naar) – see Physiological defects
Effect of nets on growth, yield and fruit quality as well economic feasibility in plums. (K Theron and N van Rensburg) Heat damage in plums. (W Steyn, M Jooste and B Makeredza)