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Record exports expected for South African stonefruit

Estimates released by HortGrow for the 2013/14 South African stonefruit are looking positive, with potentially record export volumes for peaches and nectarines. Timing should be similar to last season, although a long coldish spring may mean a late start for early cultivars.

Last season saw record export volumes for peaches and plums average exports levels of nectarines and apricots.



Growing conditions have been good in South Africa with enough cold units and sufficient rain for initial growth during winter which will likely prove beneficial for the production of stonefruit this season.

The 2013/14 export volumes will be up due to potentially record levels as orchards established over the past few years come into production and so far there have been no factors which will affect the quality. The season’s timing is similar to last year although early varieties of nectarines and peaches seem a bit later and volumes slightly down.

Apricot exports are estimated at 1.09 mil eqv cartons (4.75kg), which is a 2% decrease from the previous season. This is mainly due to the fact that both Imperial/Palsteyn and Honeycot® are estimated to be down as a result of hail damage early in the season. It is estimated that the peak for apricot exports will be in week 49, the same as last season.

Peach exports are expected to grow with an estimated 11% compared the previous season. This brings the estimate to 1.5 mil eqv cartons (2.5 kg). Cultivars expected to grow noticeably are Amber Crest, Jim Dandy, Brittaney Lane and Summer Zee.

Nectarines are expected to grow the most in volume with the estimate for exports on 3.7 mil eqv cartons (2.5 kg), which resembles a 14% increase from the previous season. The estimate shows two significant peaks in weeks 48 and 9. Alpine and August Red makes a substantial contribution to this growth, with Alpine production expected to return to normal after the down crop of 2012/2013.

Plum exports are estimated to reach 11.4 mil eqv. cartons (5.25 kg), which is on par with the previous season. Laetitia, Songold and Angeleno/Suplumsix, the cultivars with the largest export volumes in South Africa, are all estimated to be slightly down. It is estimated that the peak for plum exports will be around week 5 to 6, the same time as the previous season.



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