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RSA grape forecast at 52m-54m cartons

Table grape exports in the country are now underway, with production expected to be slightly down on the 2012/13 season

RSA grape forecast at 52m-54m cartons
Table grape production in South Africa's Orange River region

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The first table grape export consignments of the new South African season have been packed in the country's Northern Province, with national industry body SATI forecasting total production of between 52m and 54m cartons.

The forecast is in line with last season's final crop figure of 53.47m cartons, although slightly lower than the 53.8m-55.1m cartons estimated this time last year.

"The first local market and export market grapes were packed in week 43," SATI confirmed in a statement. "The quality is excellent and vineyards are healthy."

In the Orange River region, meanwhile, cooler temperatures over the last few weeks are not thought to have affected vine growth and development.

"All varieties have finished flowering and fruit set is nearly completed," SATI said. "Vineyards are healthy."

The Oliphants River region also experienced cooler periods during the last few weeks,
but similarly SATI reported this had not had an impact on vine growth and development.

"Berry enlargement activities are underway on Prime, Flame Seedless and
Starlight," the group stated. "All other varieties are at varying flowering stages."

Elsewhere, vines were said to be growing at a faster rate in the Berg River region as a result of a recent rise in soil temperatures.

"Early indications are that fertility is very good on early and mid-season varieties. It is too early to verify fertility on the late-season varieties due to the initial slow growth tempo."

And in the Hex River Valley, mixed weather conditions over the last few weeks are understood to have slowed growth.

"Prime is in full bloom and thinning actions are underway. All varieties show good fertility and vineyards are healthy."

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