Worldwide Fruit at the forefron of industrys future

Article taken from The Fruit Grower, written by Malcolm Withnall

With the 2013 Jazz crop estimated to come in close to 5,000 tonnes – the largest so far for the UK – and its members’ Braeburn crop close to 10,000 tonnes, Worldwide Fruit is anticipating that there will be more than enough fruit to meet consumer demand in the marketing season ahead, when added to all the other varieties this leading marketing group produces.

Worldwide Fruit’s Technical Director, Tony Harding, commented at the National Fruit Show, “With the average fruit size falling short of the norm we anticipate being slightly down on recent years, but with fruit quality especially the eating quality, and an excellent first pick into long term storage, future and repeat sales look very promising.”

Tony explained that with second-pick fruit currently being harvested, and recognising that the nation’s bumper back garden crop will be consumed and shared out in the next month, stocks were being realigned, as often happens at this time of the year.

He was also most encouraged by the performance of the new Worldwide Fruit introduction ‘Envy’, for which they are an exclusive license-holder with ENZA.  “It comes from the Gala x Braeburn stable, and with 40,000 trees in the ground already, it will deliver increasing volumes in the near future.  “Envy’s high yielding potential has already been revealed, with 20-22kg per tree recorded in the third leaf from UK plantings,” said Tony.  “What is most encouraging is that New Zealand growers have produced 80 tonnes/ha by the third leaf, a phenomenal performance potential.  When you add this factor to its remarkably high sugars (16% - 18% Brix) Envy is an eating sensation.

Worldwide Fruit is also developing other new varieties with its partners AgFirst in New Zealand, the most notable of which is ‘Smitten’, which slots in around Cox.  “We are seeking to establish 100,000 trees within the next three years to rapidly build up a supply of 2,000 tonnes,” said Tony.  He explained that Worldwide Fruit has three trial variety blocks, embracing 70 new varieties, which are at stage 1 and 2 in their evaluation.

It was a pleasure to see the industry’s leading fruit processing company exhibiting at the National Fruit Show.  Phil Acock had brought his team to the Show to reveal the impressive developments in processed products from his company based at Fourayes Farm in Kent.  The Fruit Grower spoke to Sales & Marketing Manager Angie Scott and Luke Wheatley from the New Product Development Team.

“Jams, both fresh and frozen, have been the largest growth area in the business,” said Luke.  “Whilst we have mincemeats, fruit glazes, chocolate and caramel sauces, we have seen a 10% growth in jam products used in scones, sponge cakes and cream horns, especially with Kentish strawberry jam.”

The other area of development at Fourayes is the aseptic apple puree line, renowned for its long-life product, and widely used by the catering and restaurant trade.  “We offer apple puree, plus a wide range of other fruits, including strawberries, raspberries and plums, to provide a range of flavours for caterers,” explained Angie Scott.  “This is a growth sector in catering.  But our highly-acclaimed fresh Bramley apple pie fillings gain favour all the time, as shown by the excellent apple pie range offered by Sainsbury’s.”

Two major sponsors of the National Fruit Show are Agrovista and BASF.  Agrovista’s Paul Bennett reported on the very successful trials of Dutch Filocal foliar feeds.  “The industry has experienced so many difficulties with tank-mixing foliar sprays, which Filocal has overcome,” said Paul.  “The red, blue and black foliar regimes provide for easy recognition of products for specific purposes.  By instigating fruitlet analysis, and later fruit analysis, it is possible to establish mineral uptake into the tree and its fruits, and then compensate accordingly.  This year, with its very late, cold, wet start, revealed major deficiencies, which were corrected immediately with ‘tree-friendly’ mixes.”

Paul revealed that he was looking forward in 2014 to collaborating with Rene Pollak, whose close association with the SAY NO TO DRIFT campaign has identified potential improvements to orchard spray applications, especially with nozzle selection, air volumes and application techniques.

BASF’s product range is well known within the industry – Regalis, Bellis, Scala, Maccani, Dithianon WG, Signum and Stroby, to name but a few, but Account Manager, Karl Geary, revealed that BASF’s recent acquisition of Becker Underwood added a range of bio-pesticides to their portfolio.  “Nemesys L for vine weevil control is widely known to growers, and is unique in being tolerant of cooler temperatures.”

“Our fruit products are an important part of BASF’s portfolio and we are happy be a sponsor of the National Fruit Show, which helps to promote this important sector of agriculture,” added BASF’s Rob Storer.  “Within BASF we are now actively working to offer the industry ‘all round solutions’, which is why BASF purchased Becker Underwood,as they have a great portfolio that will help provide some of these solutions.”


15 November 2013

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