TopFruit growers are reaping the rewards of a great ARRA™ harvest in South Africa’s Orange River and Hex Valley regions. This week, we take a look at the fruits of their labour

South African ARRA colour range on the way to Europe

As well as the white ARRA leading variety, ARRA 15, a new, inspiring basket of coloured ARRA varieties started making its way across the water on December 15th.

ARRA 13 (ARRA Passion Star™)

This is another variety which was adopted by the Namibian and South African growers for their arid regions with great success. The fact that this variety can be grown without Gibb for sizing is a great relief for the growers, as trials proved that in general Gibb applications reduce the post-harvest quality and shelf life of the grapes.

ARRA 13 Tirisano Farm; Once again, the variety coloured without the use of any Ethephon and no Gibb was applied for size.

ARRA 14 (ARRA Mystic Bloom™)

In past newsletters we gave you more information and photos of ARRA 14 grown in South Africa and Namibia with great success.  Growers adopted the ARRA 14 as it travels well with no side effects and in addition, it is a very farmer-friendly and cheap to grow variety. The Northern Cape farms are now busy harvesting their ARRA 14 and ARRA 15.

The ARRA 14 of Sweet Sensation Farm is looking really good
Organic ARRA 14 at Zwartbooisberg Farm is looking excellent for a first crop.

ARRA 29 (ARRA Passion Fire™)

Following the Namibian harvest, the ARRA 29 performed the same quality in the Western Cape.  Uniform, sweet, crunchy berries, which are easily grown to  22-24mm berry size in the initial production, giving confidence to the early industry growers.

The feedback from the growers in the Hex River Valley on the first harvest of ARRA 29 in South Africa is very encouraging and the pictures speak for themselves. The harvest started week one and will carry on until week three, the same time as Flame Seedless.

ARRA 29; Duikerskloof Farm

ARRA 29 harvested at Duikerskloof Farm of the Cape Orchard Company group in the Hex River Valley, Western Cape, managed by senior farm manager, Michael Vorster and his farm manager Anlo Schietekat. Packing started on December 31st and yield and grape quality are superb due to the guidance of the TopFruit team who took the growing protocol evaluations and conclusions from Aussenkehr in Namibia to the Hex River Valley in the South. 

ARRA 29; Sweet Sensation Farm, trial block

TopFruit agronomist, Stephan Nel says, “It really looks very good and we all are very excited about the ARRA 29 harvest in the Hex River Valley. It is one of the first commercial blocks of ARRA 29 in South Africa that will be harvested ever.”

ARRA 29 harvest; Hex River Valley
ARRA 29; Cairngorm, Cape Orchard Company

ARRA 30 (ARRA Sugar Drop™)

The first commercial plantation of ARRA 30 was planted in 2017 and there are high expectations of this early variety. So far, from the growing point of view, Stephan Nel reports, “The ARRA 30 has no shot berries, an even berry size with excellent eating quality.”

Following Grapa’s experience in California in 2018, The Sweet Sensation farm did a very important trial on one of the ARRA 30 sections; they applied 1ppm CPPU on 6-7 mm berry size, It worked the best out of all the protocols, especially on the berry attachment. Stephan Nel applied the same protocol in TopFruit’s test block at Simondium and soon we’ll be able to see the results.

ARRA 30; Sweet Sensation Farm, trial block

Code 9A-3+1

So far, the comments are very positive and growers are seeing this variety as the new early varieties’ group leader thanks to its creamy attractive colour, the hint of  Muscat, the crunchiness and above all, the most farmer-friendly, early variety to grow.

Stephan Nel says, “Sweet Sensation Trial block first crop of 9A-3+1, where they did nothing to the bunches and berries, the vine planted in 2017 as cartonnage vines, ripening the same time as Early Sweet™”.

9A-3+1; Sweet Sensation trial block

We would like to thank Arnold, Stephan and the TopFruit team for their endless effort and tremendous contribution to the success of the ARRA programme in the African continent. All the fast progress and credit belongs to them.

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