A normal pome fruit season is anticipated for the 2020 season. With good 2019 winter rain, many of the growers can prepare a good crop. Generally, colour development and pack-outs look promising at this stage. The heatwave experienced during mid-January 2020 has only negatively affected the sizing and colouring of early pears.

A crop increase of 6% will be observed in most apple varieties in 2020. This is due to young orchards coming into production as well as the Ceres region returning to normal production. Pear exports are estimated to be down 3% compared to the previous season.

Pome fruit export estimate (12,5 kg equivalent cartons).

Apple exports

Apple hectares have stabilised over the past few years. However, growers have been replacing older and marginal orchards. This contributes to the year-on-year (y/y) growth in apple exports estimated at 35,7 million cartons considering younger orchards starting to come into production.

For red apples, an increase of 30% y/y is expected mainly due to the Ceres region returning to a normal crop. Granny Smith will be on par with 2019 volumes due to a lighter fruit set and the removal of older orchards.

Pear exports

Pear exports are estimated at 16,6 million equivalent cartons, down 3% compared to 2019. Abate Fetel will be down by 25% y/y due to very poor fruit set. Williams Bon Chretien is also expected to decrease by 9%, due to smaller fruit size and a competitive price projected by the processing industry.

In summary

An average apple crop is expected above the two-year average, with pears being slightly below the two-year average. Growers should be able to raise a good crop with adequate water being available, which should lead to good eating and keeping quality.

The situation will be monitored regularly and relevant adjustments will be published from time to time as the season unfolds. – Press release, Hortgro