The South African 2023 Flash Gala™ picking season has come to an end. According to Anthony Rawbone-Viljoen, a veteran grower at Oak Valley Estate in Elgin, and one of the holders of Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR) for Bigbucks and Flash Gala, picking at 25% starch breakdown will produce the best possible packout. This, in turn, will lead to the highest number of marketable Flash Gala apples.
According to De Kock Hamman, Technical Advisor to Ceres Fruit Growers, the hailstorms in November had reduced the number of Flash Gala bins received. “We received 34% less bins of Flash Gala than in 2022, of which 64% is from the Warm Bokkeveld at 460 meters above sea level and 36% from the Koue Bokkeveld area which is between 850 and 1100 meters above sea level.”
“Despite the challenges we’ve had with quality this year, the color of the fruit was still good. As the trees get older and in some cases more dense, there is some fruit that is paler in color . The correct pruning is now important to increase the light within the trees for good color development. The packouts were a bit lower this year because of hail damage and other quality factors, but despite the drop in packouts, Bigbucks and Royal Beaut are still our preferred Gala varieties to plant,” Hamman concluded.