The region experienced its first heavy summer rains during Week 49 - 50. The Sable Seedless plots were harvested before these rains, which meant we avoided challenges to the quality side. Black Seedless harvesting will come to an end this week. The Crimson Seedless will come into production with limited volumes in Week 51, increasing steadily into Week 52. The sizing on the Crimson Seedless looks excellent. The season is estimated to end with the last Red Seedless volumes around Week 3 – 4.
The region had a more average weather year, experiencing late and little rains compared to previous years. Water supply remains largely unchallenged and cool nights helped with the coloring of the Red Seedless. Current volume estimations are pointing towards an average year, but it’s been a good year in terms of quality.
ORANGE RIVER REGION
The first White Seedless volumes tend to be down on the original estimates and also lower compared to last season. The first White seedless varieties have averaged 10 - 15% below estimate. The last Prime and Early Sweet will be harvested this week and may continue into early Week 51. Thompson Seedless will start Week 51 on the early production units in the region. Quality on the White Seedless will speak for itself, and consumers can expect an excellent eating quality product!
The Red Seedless volumes are increasing with Ralli coming into production Week 50 - 51. Crimson Seedless will follow in the weeks after. The color of the Red Seedless looks promising, but volumes estimates are still difficult to quantify currently. Black Seedless volumes are picking up this week with Sable Seedless coming into full swing Week 50. Midnight Beauty will follow towards Week 51. The Black Seedless varieties are also showing excellent quality due to no rain in this region up to now.
With the stable weather conditions we have experienced, we are seeing clean, strong fruit. Day temperatures are reaching high 30’s (°C) and nights are cool which is helping with coloring on the Red and Black Seedless. No rain is forecasted for the coming week. Abundant good quality water is available in the area.
WESTERN CAPE REGIONS
There was a heatwave passing through parts of the Western Cape with temperatures soring as high as 46 °C. This led to plots in some areas suffering burn damage even with irrigation efforts to cool down. Some growers estimate the damage to be more than 60% on certain varieties. We will evaluate the plots in the coming weeks to determine the full extent of the damage, but this will have a direct effect on volumes in the early areas of the Western Cape. Red Globe and Midnight Beauty seems to be the worst affected varieties.
Early areas of the Western Cape are currently on time compared to the previous season, although the first volumes might be less than estimated due to the heat. Current planning to start Week 51 in the early areas and around Week 2 in the Hex River Valley.
Overall the Berg River area shows a good quality yield and sufficient volumes. Water is still being managed carefully to insure the necessary crops can be produced. Bunches were prepared smaller this season which may have a slight effect on the size of the product, but quality will be excellent with crispy berries.
The Hex River Valley is showing promising yields although concern is raised about the water shortage and the effect thereof on the late area of the valley. Midnight Beauty has shown damage from the heat in this area as well. Up to now the Western Cape experienced short periods of summer rain and if this continue around the mountain areas the effect of the drought might be negated this season.
Overall we are excited for the Western Cape season and believe that we will see the good quality from the early regions pull through into this region!
SOUTH AFRICA - FUN FACT OF THE WEEK
50 Years ago, the first successful heart transplant was carried out in Cape Town, by Dr Christiaan Barnard on 3 December 1967.
Additionally, the CAT (Computed Axial Tomography) Scan, issued in hospitals to produce 3D images of the human body’s internal structures, were developed by a South African physicist by the name of Allan Cormack and British colleague Godfrey Hounsfield. They shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1979.