Fruit & Nuts

Farmer’s Weekly brings you the latest fruit and nuts farming news and updates from South Africa and the rest of Africa.

Free State’s first black, female raisin farmer (and she makes wine)

Picture the Free State, and you are likely to recall lands of maize and golden sunflowers stretching to the horizon. Near Jacobsdal, however, Tebogo Ditsebe is bucking the trend: she grows wine grapes and produces wine under her own label.

Latest technology improves macadamia quality output

Achieving the near impossible, Dian Pretorius reduced unsound kernel recovery in his macadamia crop from 6% to 1,7% over just one season, adding R1,7 million to his profit in the process. He spoke to Lindi Botha about the technology that helped him achieve this improvement.

Higher temperatures increase risk of apple scab infection

The dramatic increase in South Africa’s average winter temperature over the past 40 years has altered the susceptibility of apples to fungal disease, with fungi showing a much faster adaptation rate to changing temperatures than apples, writes Dr Julia Meitz-Hopkins, a researcher in the Department of Plant Pathology at Stellenbosch University.

The importance of timing to strawberry production

Professional Horticultural Consulting, a nursery-turned-strawberry producer, has become one of South Africa’s leading strawberry exporters, thanks in part to its expertise at analysing plant and soil nutritional requirements. Dr Gavin Linsley-Noakes spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the business.

Latest research: Macadamias need less water than you think!

With a looming water crisis and an expanding macadamia industry, the obvious question arises: where will the water for the new orchards come from? A recent groundbreaking study shows that farmers have been grossly over-irrigating and that dryland macadamias in high-rainfall areas actually provide better yields. Lindi Botha spoke to Theunis and Armand Smit, specialists in irrigation and optimal water usage.
fruit orchards

Top female farmer makes neglected orchards bloom again

Marilyn Siegels was recently named the Western Cape’s best female commercial farmer after just two years in the industry. Along with her father, Edward van Niekerk, and sister, Yolande van Niekerk, she is rejuvenating a land restitution fruit farm.

Value adding and ecotourism boost small blackberry farm

The owner of a small farm has to find innovative ways to remain financially viable. Natalie Turck of Wildebraam Berry Estate spoke to Glenneis Kriel about how she and her husband accomplish this.
dragon fruit crop

New sweeter Dragon Fruit cultivars

Dragon fruit’s peculiar appearance and exotic name are enough to make anyone take a second look. But beyond novelty appeal, the fruit holds considerable promise for South African producers. Lindi Botha visited Howard Blight at his nursery near Tzaneen to learn about this remarkable crop.
avocado trees

Dwarf avocado trees: low-maintenance, high-yielding orchards

As fruit farmers are pushed to produce more with less, so the trend towards dwarf trees has gained momentum. Dwarf avocado trees offer the benefits of a compact orchard and savings in labour and production costs. Lindi Botha spoke to farm manager Simon Dunshea in Mpumalanga.
apple tree

A century of perfecting apple growing in the Langkloof

The Zondagh family farm apples and pears in the Eastern Cape’s fertile Langkloof Valley. During a media tour to Matt Zondagh Estate, hosted by Tru-Cape, the Zondaghs spoke to Jeandré van der Walt about sustainable farming practices and the importance of family.
gold kiwifruit

Well-managed soil: the key to high-yielding gold kiwifruit

Production of the long-term, high-yielding and high-value gold kiwifruit is still in its infancy in South Africa. An important lesson learned by local pioneering grower Peter Nicholson is to have healthy soils for strong vine growth and fruit set. He shares his tips with Lloyd Phillips.
Almonds ready to be processed.

Almonds: High value, huge potential

The establishment of an almond-processing facility in Robertson has the potential to turn South Africa into a leading exporter of these nuts. Stephan and Hans le Roux of Amanteco Almonds spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the opportunities and pitfalls associated with this crop.

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