Stone Fruit Farmers

Stone Fruit Farmers Develop Waterwise Strategy

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Stone Fruit Farmers are tackling the Western Cape drought with optimism and positivity, believing that the dire situation can be turned to their advantage.  The silver lining in the drought’s cloud for fruit farmers is that the quality of fruit grown under water scarce conditions is usually very good with high sugar levels and great taste. Some growers have also reported enough water to at least see through most of the summer season.

Hortgro, the body that represents the Stone Fruit Association of South Africa, recently presented an irrigation seminar to equip producers with tools and strategies to alleviate the drought impact and also shared another strategy that has been developed by a Ceres fruit grower. These strategies involve ranking and allocating water to orchards according to profitability resulting in optimal irrigation of highly profitable orchards and the removal of unproductive orchards.

The seminar also revisited the basic principles of irrigation design and planning. Many growers brought forward their plans to remove older, less productive orchards over the next couple of years in order to stretch the water available to them as far as possible.

Fruit producers are resilient and have recently been using technology much more actively and effectively in managing their water, irrigation systems and orchards. Water has always been a limited resource and the experience honed in past seasons has helped to hone the growers’ skills to make every drop count.

These strategies will be reassessed during monthly water budget meetings.


For more information contact Jacques du Preez: Jacques@hortgro.co.za

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