Tue, 28/11/2017 - 09:37


Product news

 ‘In the past two years a number of growers have noticed a lot of soft stonefruit’, says Barry Kerr, Sumitomo Chemical regional manager for central Victoria and Tasmania. ‘Last year can largely be explained by the amount of rain we had through late August, September and October. This year the exact cause is harder to discern but certainly the amount of rain, possibly at the wrong time, has played a part. In addition, it seems that this year there is a heavy fruit load and if the thinning isn’t spot on we could see a lot of undersized fruit’.

‘Apple growers also have had some interesting conditions this year. A very good chilling out with a few frosts, created plentiful buds, which has led to a lot of fruit. Then cool weather through October with a number of storm events has made thinning difficult. So, we are seeing some heavy loads of small apples out there’.

Cameron Forrest, Horticultural Agronomist I K Caldwell Cobram, suggests that as we approach harvest, apple and stonefruit growers who experience these large numbers of small fruit should be considering using ReTain. Cameron is one of the experts behind the creation of IK Caldwell’s GROcare horticultural program for pome and stone fruit growers. The program has now been running for nine years and is a great source of information for growers. As part of the program growers receive regular email updates with current talking points. In a recent issue Cameron noted that ‘early season stone fruit are showing signs of being softer than normal due to this seasons growing conditions.’ And suggested growers ‘Consider Retain to achieve higher brix's (sugars), firmer fruit and improved fruit size.’

ReTain is a naturally occurring fermentation product that blocks ethylene production in plants. Ethylene affects plant processes such as fruit maturation, ripening and fruit drop. Essentially ReTain slows harvest maturity, helping fruit to stay on the tree a little longer (using ReTain pre-harvest suppresses ethylene biosynthesis allowing growers to manage the timing of ripening, increase fruit size and firmness and improve storage potential). The benefit of this is that the fruit continues to grow at its normal rate for an extended time. Depending on variety and conditions, fruit held on the tree can increase 1% of its weight per day. Often larger fruit can tend to be a bit softer, but with ReTain you get larger, firmer fruit. An additional benefit of ReTain is that it maintains the quality of fruit well after it has been picked. Fruit produced using ReTain maintains its firmness in storage and has a reduced frequency of disorders.

ReTain is not a magic bullet for everything but it’s a great tool to remedy the current size issues in apples firmness issues in stonefruit. We expect price will be at a premium for good fruit this year and good sized, good quality fruit which is what supermarkets want.

For more information on using ReTain in pome fruit please refer to the below resources:

ReTain Manual

ReTain advanced stonefruit management technote

ReTain Testimonial Peter Casotti

ReTain Testimonial Mark Mobilo

Australian Organic Certification

ReTain label