Fungus warning after heavy rains in Limpopo

Limpopo rains could bring increased incidence of bacterial black spot on fruit, jeopardising quality and consequently farmer profit.

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Dr Theo de Jager, Agri SA deputy president, said that although bacterial black spot was purely cosmetic, fruit was sold at lower prices. “Farmers are also struggling to get into their fields to spray for the fungicide following heavy rains.”

Derek Donkin, CEO of Subtrop, said that while damage on fruit should be minimal, production costs have been pushed up. “Most farmers would have already sprayed copper on their mangoes to combat bacterial black spot so they shouldn’t have a lot of damage on their fruit. But with all the rain the fungicide would have been washed off and now that the sun is out farmers will have to respray at an additional cost.”

De Jager had to respray some of his own crops at an additional cost of R13 000 for 12ha of avocados.

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Donkin however warned that bacterial black spot usually took a few weeks to emerge and farmers might not know immediately if they have damage to their crops.