News Article

2023 Apple and Pear Harvest Forecast

The dates listed below have been determined for this season’s Adelaide Hills storage harvest maturity, they are significantly later due to the colder than normal early season weather.

Growers are advised to use them as a guide only and increase their infield maturity testing prior to harvest. The prediction is based on several factors including maximum and minimum temperatures and is cross referenced across several weather stations.

With the increased use of netting, maturity in individual blocks may be delayed by several days due to its moderating impact on temperatures.

Please use the dates as a guide and increase your in field testing this season.

This year’s Jonathan Long Term Storage reference date has been determined as the 20th of March. This year’s date is later than last season and considerably later than normal.

Growers are also reminded that these dates are based on harvesting fruit for long term storage and not necessarily for direct fruit sales.

Apple /Pear Variety 2023 Optimal Harvest Date for

Long Term Storage

Apples

Gala Strains
Jonathan
Delicious
Fuji
Pink Lady
Sundowner

 

7th – 9th March
20th March
3rd April
17th April
27th April
16th May

Pears

Williams
Packham’s or Beurre Bosc

(monitor pressures closely)

3rd week February
19th March

The optimum maturity harvest date for 2023 for Jonathan’s from the Lenswood District intended for long term storage is the 20thMarch

Historically the reference date varies the most for the earlier maturing varieties and does not influence the later varieties as significantlyThe maturity period will condense up into a busy one.

Harvesting of Jonathan apples (for long term storage) should peak around the 20th March this year. Jonathan, although no longer a major variety. is the reference variety on which the initial harvest maturity research work was based.

Fruit from younger trees or lighter crop trees may mature up to 2 weeks earlier. Fruit from Jonathan trees grown at lower altitudes may mature up to a week before the predicted date for Lenswood. Watch for changes in the background colour from green to green-yellow rather than size or red colour which may not be optimized due to the relatively cool growing season and/or hot weather spells.

Fruit intended for off tree sales or air storage should not be picked before this date and should have its maturity regularly monitored to determine its optimum harvest opportunity.

Gala is an awkward variety to directly extrapolate the optimum maturity date for, however growers should be regularly testing maturity from early February. The better coloured and sized fruit may be able to be harvested from late-February (depending on location and block characteristics) with the majority ready for harvest (long term storage) from around the 7th –9th of March. Having multiple picks will avoid mixed maturity, help optimize storage and marketing options and assist in overall size development.

Grower’s contemplating using a harvest delay growth regulator should determine their optimum application time for each of their Gala blocks. Maturity of the Gala blocks will vary also due to the actual strain/variety and rootstock used.

From the fourth week of March the starch should be starting to clear from the centre of Delicious apples and the sugars starting to move. Regular testing of the fruit maturity is critical to refine the actual harvest dates for each block.

Fuji (main type) should be starting to develop water-core before harvest. This is anticipated to be around the 17th of April. Routine maturity testing will also further refine the actual harvest dates for this variety. Fruit from Aztec Fuji has been slightly later than Naga Fu 2 in previous seasons, but this may be due to young tree age.

Growers intending to store Pink Lady apples for long term storage or export should begin their harvest based on maturity development indicators (starch, background colour, firmness). This should be from around the 4th week of April. Fruit from younger trees can mature up to 2 weeks earlier. Rootstock and strain of Pink Lady will also have an influence. Ruby Pink has been found to mature a few days earlier than other strains.

Start monitoring maturity of Pink Lady apples from early April. Be aware of scald issues on early picked fruit and potential storage outturn problems with over mature fruit.

Sundowner apples should be ready to harvest from the second week of May. Monitor the changes in fruit maturity indicators to determine the actual optimum harvest date.

Pears

Williams (Duchess) pears intended for storage should be ready for harvest from the 3rd week of February when they have a pressure of 8-10 kg. Packham’s and Buerre Bosc can be harvested when their pressures are between 7-9 kg. The after effects of the hail may have a localized influence on a block/variety. Monitor pressures closely.

Prepared by
Michael Rettke, SARDI
Paul James, Lenswood Coop
Special thanks to Filsell family and EE Muir’s P/L