Last week's hail and wind damage factored into latest estimates

South African plum and topfruit estimates adjusted downwards

There was widespread joy among Capetonians at a smattering of rain last week, unfortunately it was accompanied by hail and strong winds around Franschhoek, Simondium, Stellenbosch, Tulbagh, Montagu and the Langkloof, as FreshPlaza reported last week, before the extent of the damage was certain. Hortgro has since confirmed that although certain growers suffered great losses, the whole industry is not affected, and even within the affected areas, the damage did not occur homogeneously.

Fortunately for stonefruit producers, plums in the areas which experienced hail and strong winds were already 65% harvested and the nectarine harvest was three-quarters through, which has limited damage. Hortgro nevertheless estimates a loss of approximately 200,000 cartons on mid- to late-season plums (roughly 5% of the remainder of the 2017/18 season), primarily affecting Songold, African Delight, Ruby Star and Angeleno. This brings the latest plum estimate to 17% down on last year’s volumes.

The latest plum estimate by Hortgro

Pear estimates
Last week some producers reported localised damage on Abate Fetel pears which were blown off by strong winds. In its latest crop estimate adjustment, Hortgro has put Abate Fetel volumes at an estimated 13% lower than last year.

The Williams Bon Chretien harvest is nearing its end, down 12% to last year. Beurre Bosc and Flamingo appear to be major casualties of the drought, dropping an estimated 36% and 29% respectively this season. The stalwart Packhams Triumph could be 8% down this year, but Cheeky emerges well: its volumes are reckoned to rise with 15%.

The latest pear estimate by Hortgro

Apple estimates
The latest apple crop estimate has it at 9% lower than last year, a function of climatic factors like hail and wind damage, sunburn, the drought and lighter fruit set. Royal Gala exports have just started and volumes passed for export are 52% lower than last year, at the end of week 6 YTD. Overall apple exports (primarily Golden Delicious, Royal Gala, Top Red/Starking at the moment) are 28% lower than last year this time, which also reflects the later start to the season.

The latest apple estimate by Hortgro

Meanwhile, in Cape Town, Day Zero has been moved further into the future again, to 9 July, partly because of reduced water consumption and because of the donation of 7 to 10 million m3 by the Groenland Water User Association to be transferred from the Overberg region to the Steenbras Dam. One of the major feeder dams of the Greater Cape Town region.

For more information:
Jacques du Preez
Tel: +27 21 870 2900

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