August 2012: Get your apples before they're gone!

There were concerns, first voiced in August, over the ability of the new G3 kiwi variety to withstand PSA infection. Newly grafted vines, in some cases, were reported to be showing signs of the disease, seemingly slashing the hopes of many who had pinned them the new variety. Others, however, remained more upbeat and pointed out that no variety was immune from infection, but that G3 possessed much more resilience in the face of PSA, than its predecessor, Hort16A.

At the same time as this was happening in New Zealand, over in the Northern Hemisphere, Italian scientists were reporting the successful breeding of a new gold variety. It had been ten years in the making and, as PSA was not an issue when the project commenced, had not been bred with disease resistance in mind. Despite this it was reported to possess a relatively high level of resistance.

In the US the first early apples began to be harvested, though there were warnings to This had been expected as freezing weather had affected the trees earlier in the season. Washington, however, was amongst states unaffected and was gearing up for an exciting bumper year. Having missed out on the frosts the USDA was predicting a record yield of 5.7 billion pounds.

The frosts had also affected the raisin grape crop, which was now being anticipated to yield its lowest volumes for years. 1.9 million tons were expected, the lowest level since 2006 and a 13.4% drop on the previous year.

Russia was entering the World Trade Organisation, leading to much talk of low cost apples as one of the entry processes was a reduction in apple import tariffs.

Cherry growers in British Columbia were disappointed to find they could not market their cherries to China as anticipated. China had indicated acceptance of entry of the fruit, but put in place biosecurity processes so robust that fruit was delayed until freshness could not be guaranteed. Consequently export was not viable.

This was bad news for the growers who were already experiencing very low prices. Prices dropped from 70 cents per pound to 40 cents per pound - below the 50 cents per pound level needed to cover production costs.

Argentina took its disagreement over the US ban on Argentine lemons to the World Trade Organisation, prompting a robust defence of policy from the states. The US declared that its ban was based on science and fully compliant with WTO regulations.

Tropical storm Isaac hit the Americas, causing widespread damaged, including horticultural production, for example avocados in the Dominican Republic. Florida growers breathed a sigh of relief as the storm, contrary to expectations passed them by unaffected.

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