TGC Seasonal Update | WEEK 48 | 2022
The Orange River Region The 2022/23 Orange River season commenced with the first commercial volumes in week 46, 7 days earlier compared to the previous season. Excellent growing weather along with the propensity of a lighter crop accelerated sugar accumulation on all the early orchards (Prime/Early Sweet/Sugraone/Starlight). Finishing up on the early varietals it's confirmed that pre-season crop estimates were not nearly reached.
The region had a severe heatwave during the flowering period on the early-mid varieties like Thompson Seedless, Sweet Globe and Sable Seedless back in October. This resulted in some of the grapevines shattering more berries due to stress. Unfortunately, the result will be crop estimate declining weekly compared to what was planned prior to pre-flowering. At this point a loss of 10-15% can be expected depending on the berry size and berry weight at harvest.
During week 47 the bulk of the Prime and Early Sweet were packed at a good brix level and with good acidity levels that will contribute to exceptional travel ability and shelf life. The acidity starts to break down after harvest and will not affect the eating quality which South Africa is renowned for. Week 48 will be marked in the history books for the region as the week started out with a severe heatwave that unfortunately caused heat damage to some of the mid-season varieties like Sweet Celebration. The occurrence is more frequent on the later plots, Sweet Celebration with some Sweet Globe was affected the most. Both these varieties were impacted by the shatter prior to the season; hence the final damage and loss is yet to be confirmed. Week 48 ended with isolated showers in some parts of the region, mainly damaging Thompson Seedless on only two production units.
Week 49 and 50 is showing favorable weather predictions. In the following weeks we will see Sable Seedless, Midnight Beauty and Ralli moving into full production and the estimates will confirm once again if the season will be lighter than anticipated. If this might be the case, we foresee it for the later regions in the Western Cape as well. Only time will tell whether a lighter crop can be expected in the later regions of South Africa.
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