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Hydrogen sulfide greatly enhances plant growth: Key ingredient in mass extinctions could boost food, biofuel production

TGF-FruitImageApr. 17, 2013 — Hydrogen sulfide, the pungent stuff often referred to as sewer gas, is a deadly substance implicated in several mass extinctions, including one at the end of the Permian period 251 million years ago that wiped out more than three-quarters of all species on Earth.

But in low doses, hydrogen sulfide could greatly enhance plant growth, leading to a sharp increase in global food supplies and plentiful stock for biofuel production, new University of Washington research shows.

“We found some very interesting things, including that at the very lowest levels plant health improves. But that’s not what we were looking for,” said Frederick Dooley, a UW doctoral student in biology who led the research.

Dooley started off to examine the toxic effects of hydrogen sulfide on plants but mistakenly used only one-tenth the amount of the toxin he had intended. The results were so unbelievable that he repeated the experiment. Still unconvinced, he repeated it again — and again, and again. In fact, the results have been replicated so often that they are now “a near certainty,” he said.

“Everything else that’s ever been done on plants was looking at hydrogen sulfide in high concentrations,” he said.

The research is published online April 17 in PLOS ONE, a Public Library of Science journal.

At high concentrations — levels of 30 to 100 parts per million in water — hydrogen sulfide can be lethal to humans. At one part per million it emits a telltale rotten-egg smell. Dooley used a concentration of 1 part per billion or less to water seeds of peas, beans and wheat on a weekly basis. Treating the seeds less often reduced the effect, and watering more often typically killed them.

With wheat, all the seeds germinated in one to two days instead of four or five, and with peas and beans the typical 40 percent rate of germination rose to 60 to 70 percent.

“They germinate faster and they produce roots and leaves faster. Basically what we’ve done is accelerate the entire plant process,” he said.

Crop yields nearly doubled, said Peter Ward, Dooley’s doctoral adviser, a UW professor of biology and of Earth and space sciences and an authority on Earth’s mass extinctions.

Hydrogen sulfide, probably produced when sulfates in the oceans were decomposed by sulfur bacteria, is believed to have played a significant role in several extinction events, in particular the “Great Dying” at the end of the Permian period. Ward suggests that the rapid plant growth could be the result of genetic signaling passed down in the wake of mass extinctions.

At high concentrations, hydrogen sulfide killed small plants very easily while larger plants had a better chance at survival, he said, so it is likely that plants carry a defense mechanism that spurs their growth when they sense hydrogen sulfide.

“Mass extinctions kill a lot of stuff, but here’s a legacy that promotes life,” Ward said.

Dooley recently has applied hydrogen sulfide treatment to corn, carrots and soybeans with results that appear to be similar to earlier tests. But it is likely to be some time before he, and the general public, are comfortable with the level of testing to make sure there are no unforeseen consequences of treating food crops with hydrogen sulfide.

The most significant near-term promise, he believes, is in growing algae and other stock for biofuels. Plant lipids are the key to biofuel production, and preliminary tests show that the composition of lipids in hydrogen sulfide-treated plants is the same as in untreated plants, he said.

When plants grow to larger-than-normal size, they typically do not produce more cells but rather elongate their existing cells, Dooley said. However, in the treatment with hydrogen sulfide, he found that the cells actually got smaller and there were vastly more of them. That means the plants contain significantly more biomass for fuel production, he said.

“If you look at a slide of the cells under a microscope, anyone can understand it. It is that big of a difference,” he said.

Ward and Suven Nair, a UW biology undergraduate, are coauthors of the PLOS ONE paper. The work was funded by the UW Astrobiology Program.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Washington. The original article was written by Vince Stricherz.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Frederick D. Dooley, Suven P. Nair, Peter D. Ward. Increased Growth and Germination Success in Plants following Hydrogen Sulfide Administration. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (4): e62048 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062048

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Peruvian grape production continues to climb

Peruvian grape production continues to climb

Despite exporting virtually no grapes as recently as 13 years ago, Peruvian grape exports were worth $ 365 million last year. That rapid growth has been driven by increasing production by the nation’s growers.

Although, according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the cost of planting new vineyards remains high, good prices and good returns on investment keep growers planting more acreage. That’s contributed to strong growth in production, with an estimated 305,000 MT for the current year. Of that production, it’s estimated 150,000 MT will be exported.

The primary markets for Peruvian grapes are the Netherlands and the US. Last year, 27,516 MT were shipped to the Netherlands and 25,420 MT were shipped to the US. The value of grape exports last year was estimated at $ 365 million.

Publication date: 6/28/2013
Author: Carlos Nunez
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

S.C. peach crop finishes strong, close to 2013 production totals

COLUMBIA, SC — Despite an early freeze that killed an estimated 20 percent of the 2014 peach crop, production finished strong and managed to pull within shouting distance of last year’s harvest. Matt Cornwell, marketing specialist for peaches at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture here, said final totals, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in mid-September, were 2,290 truckloads, compared to 2,320 in 2013.

“One thing we can’t control is the weather,” Cornwell said. “But the strong finish to the season meant that growers were able to fill orders and retailers were able to get high-quality product.SC-PEACHES11214This Harris Teeter store in downtown Charleston, SC, featured ‘fresh off the farm’ locally grown peaches in August. That bodes well for next year.” South Carolina peach growers, who usually rank second in the nation in peach production, behind California, have proven over the past few years that they can meet volume demands of supermarkets and other mass-market retailers, he added.  

Peach growers over the years have diversified, noted Martin Eubanks, assistant commissioner for agricultural services, so they are not dependent on a single crop of peaches. Many peach growers have now turned to harvesting greens, he said. Also, he added, when weather conditions are not off-the-scale, growers can save peach crops in near-freezing weather with blowers, smoke pots and even helicopters. “We had several bad spells of weather in 2014; another degree or two colder, our entire crop could have been lost,” he added.

Fir 2015, peach promotions will include a South Carolina Peach Council-sponsored Peach Day at the State Farmers’ Market in Columbia, Cornwell said, along with a fund-raising auction for the council in late March or early April in the Myrtle Beach, SC, area. Other materials and activities for retailers and consumers are on the drawing board, he noted.

“Right now, peach growers are doing their game planning for the year,” Cornwell observed. He said he had spoken with Lynne Chappell of Chappell Farms, a fifth-generation family peach grower in Kline, SC,  Dec. 19 and she recounted that they are “currently pruning, getting ready to fertilize in January, and as her father Pat Chappell said, ‘enjoying good peach weather in December.’”

Value-added processing makes South Carolina peaches a year-round item, with some growers providing peach puree to craft brewers making peach beer and brandy, others packing sliced frozen peaches in puree, as well as peaches for ice cream sold to dairies, and peach menu items for restaurants and foodservice operations. Value-added products have steadily increased, Cornwell said, along with growers adding organic peaches to their offerings.  

For 2015, Cornwell said, “Demand for South Carolina peaches is growing, and the state has a natural advantage in that the soil and climate are ideal for peaches. Because of our location, we are one of the first states to have peaches on the market, and we can reach the major population centers of the East Coast and Midwest. The outlook for 2015, weather permitting, is good.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

S.C. peach crop finishes strong, close to 2013 production totals

COLUMBIA, SC — Despite an early freeze that killed an estimated 20 percent of the 2014 peach crop, production finished strong and managed to pull within shouting distance of last year’s harvest. Matt Cornwell, marketing specialist for peaches at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture here, said final totals, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in mid-September, were 2,290 truckloads, compared to 2,320 in 2013.

“One thing we can’t control is the weather,” Cornwell said. “But the strong finish to the season meant that growers were able to fill orders and retailers were able to get high-quality product.SC-PEACHES11214This Harris Teeter store in downtown Charleston, SC, featured ‘fresh off the farm’ locally grown peaches in August. That bodes well for next year.” South Carolina peach growers, who usually rank second in the nation in peach production, behind California, have proven over the past few years that they can meet volume demands of supermarkets and other mass-market retailers, he added.  

Peach growers over the years have diversified, noted Martin Eubanks, assistant commissioner for agricultural services, so they are not dependent on a single crop of peaches. Many peach growers have now turned to harvesting greens, he said. Also, he added, when weather conditions are not off-the-scale, growers can save peach crops in near-freezing weather with blowers, smoke pots and even helicopters. “We had several bad spells of weather in 2014; another degree or two colder, our entire crop could have been lost,” he added.

Fir 2015, peach promotions will include a South Carolina Peach Council-sponsored Peach Day at the State Farmers’ Market in Columbia, Cornwell said, along with a fund-raising auction for the council in late March or early April in the Myrtle Beach, SC, area. Other materials and activities for retailers and consumers are on the drawing board, he noted.

“Right now, peach growers are doing their game planning for the year,” Cornwell observed. He said he had spoken with Lynne Chappell of Chappell Farms, a fifth-generation family peach grower in Kline, SC,  Dec. 19 and she recounted that they are “currently pruning, getting ready to fertilize in January, and as her father Pat Chappell said, ‘enjoying good peach weather in December.’”

Value-added processing makes South Carolina peaches a year-round item, with some growers providing peach puree to craft brewers making peach beer and brandy, others packing sliced frozen peaches in puree, as well as peaches for ice cream sold to dairies, and peach menu items for restaurants and foodservice operations. Value-added products have steadily increased, Cornwell said, along with growers adding organic peaches to their offerings.  

For 2015, Cornwell said, “Demand for South Carolina peaches is growing, and the state has a natural advantage in that the soil and climate are ideal for peaches. Because of our location, we are one of the first states to have peaches on the market, and we can reach the major population centers of the East Coast and Midwest. The outlook for 2015, weather permitting, is good.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

S.C. peach crop finishes strong, close to 2013 production totals

COLUMBIA, SC — Despite an early freeze that killed an estimated 20 percent of the 2014 peach crop, production finished strong and managed to pull within shouting distance of last year’s harvest. Matt Cornwell, marketing specialist for peaches at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture here, said final totals, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in mid-September, were 2,290 truckloads, compared to 2,320 in 2013.

“One thing we can’t control is the weather,” Cornwell said. “But the strong finish to the season meant that growers were able to fill orders and retailers were able to get high-quality product.SC-PEACHES11214This Harris Teeter store in downtown Charleston, SC, featured ‘fresh off the farm’ locally grown peaches in August. That bodes well for next year.” South Carolina peach growers, who usually rank second in the nation in peach production, behind California, have proven over the past few years that they can meet volume demands of supermarkets and other mass-market retailers, he added.  

Peach growers over the years have diversified, noted Martin Eubanks, assistant commissioner for agricultural services, so they are not dependent on a single crop of peaches. Many peach growers have now turned to harvesting greens, he said. Also, he added, when weather conditions are not off-the-scale, growers can save peach crops in near-freezing weather with blowers, smoke pots and even helicopters. “We had several bad spells of weather in 2014; another degree or two colder, our entire crop could have been lost,” he added.

Fir 2015, peach promotions will include a South Carolina Peach Council-sponsored Peach Day at the State Farmers’ Market in Columbia, Cornwell said, along with a fund-raising auction for the council in late March or early April in the Myrtle Beach, SC, area. Other materials and activities for retailers and consumers are on the drawing board, he noted.

“Right now, peach growers are doing their game planning for the year,” Cornwell observed. He said he had spoken with Lynne Chappell of Chappell Farms, a fifth-generation family peach grower in Kline, SC,  Dec. 19 and she recounted that they are “currently pruning, getting ready to fertilize in January, and as her father Pat Chappell said, ‘enjoying good peach weather in December.’”

Value-added processing makes South Carolina peaches a year-round item, with some growers providing peach puree to craft brewers making peach beer and brandy, others packing sliced frozen peaches in puree, as well as peaches for ice cream sold to dairies, and peach menu items for restaurants and foodservice operations. Value-added products have steadily increased, Cornwell said, along with growers adding organic peaches to their offerings.  

For 2015, Cornwell said, “Demand for South Carolina peaches is growing, and the state has a natural advantage in that the soil and climate are ideal for peaches. Because of our location, we are one of the first states to have peaches on the market, and we can reach the major population centers of the East Coast and Midwest. The outlook for 2015, weather permitting, is good.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

US: Larger orange production expected in 2014-2015

The latest USDA orange forecast predicts the 2014-2015 crop will be slightly bigger than the 2013-2014 one.

Last season’s orange production in the United States reached 156.4 million boxes, and, if the the latest USDA forecast pans out, the upcoming season’s production will be 2.5 percent larger than that. Production for the 2014-2015 orange season is expected to reach 160.4 million boxes, with gains in both Valencia and non-Valencia orange production. Florida, the state with the largest production of oranges in the country, is expected to have 108.0 million boxes of oranges for the upcoming season.

Grapefruit production is forecast to dip to 24.8 million boxes for the upcoming season – down from the previous season’s production of 25.4 million boxes. Florida’s production of grapefruit is expected to decrease only slightly, from 15.7 million boxes last season to 15.0 million boxes for 2014-2015.

Lemon production is expected to decrease by 800,000 boxes for the upcoming season, with production in California, the state that grows the most lemons, remaining unchanged at 19.0 million boxes.

FreshPlaza.com

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

Australia, with its huge variety of climates, has the capacity to grow avocados all year-round in different production sites in Queensland and down the east coast.

John Tyas, CEO of the Avocados Australia Board, explains that, “most of this fruit is currently intended for the domestic market, which absorbs about 95% of the production. Exports go mostly to Singapore, Malaysia and a little to the Middle East.”

At the moment, the Board is in the middle of re-negotiations with Thailand because of a new protocol, but it is also looking to enter China, “where there are huge opportunities. We are really interested in gaining access, because a third of Australia’s plantations have yet to come into full production.”

As far as acreage goes, Australia currently has 8,000 hectares, from which 65,000 tonnes are produced per year. “With the new plantings, the production is expected to increase by 50% in the next 5 or 6 years. It won’t be long before we reach 100,000 tonnes per year,” affirms John.

“We still think there’s room for growth domestically, but exports are a very important part of the mix, particularly to the Asian market, which accepts small calibres that Australia doesn’t value. Mexico is already exporting and Chile has also just gained access to China, and these two will hopefully help turn avocados into a less exclusive product in the Chinese market.”

Publication date: 12/3/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

Australia, with its huge variety of climates, has the capacity to grow avocados all year-round in different production sites in Queensland and down the east coast.

John Tyas, CEO of the Avocados Australia Board, explains that, “most of this fruit is currently intended for the domestic market, which absorbs about 95% of the production. Exports go mostly to Singapore, Malaysia and a little to the Middle East.”

At the moment, the Board is in the middle of re-negotiations with Thailand because of a new protocol, but it is also looking to enter China, “where there are huge opportunities. We are really interested in gaining access, because a third of Australia’s plantations have yet to come into full production.”

As far as acreage goes, Australia currently has 8,000 hectares, from which 65,000 tonnes are produced per year. “With the new plantings, the production is expected to increase by 50% in the next 5 or 6 years. It won’t be long before we reach 100,000 tonnes per year,” affirms John.

“We still think there’s room for growth domestically, but exports are a very important part of the mix, particularly to the Asian market, which accepts small calibres that Australia doesn’t value. Mexico is already exporting and Chile has also just gained access to China, and these two will hopefully help turn avocados into a less exclusive product in the Chinese market.”

Publication date: 12/3/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

Australia, with its huge variety of climates, has the capacity to grow avocados all year-round in different production sites in Queensland and down the east coast.

John Tyas, CEO of the Avocados Australia Board, explains that, “most of this fruit is currently intended for the domestic market, which absorbs about 95% of the production. Exports go mostly to Singapore, Malaysia and a little to the Middle East.”

At the moment, the Board is in the middle of re-negotiations with Thailand because of a new protocol, but it is also looking to enter China, “where there are huge opportunities. We are really interested in gaining access, because a third of Australia’s plantations have yet to come into full production.”

As far as acreage goes, Australia currently has 8,000 hectares, from which 65,000 tonnes are produced per year. “With the new plantings, the production is expected to increase by 50% in the next 5 or 6 years. It won’t be long before we reach 100,000 tonnes per year,” affirms John.

“We still think there’s room for growth domestically, but exports are a very important part of the mix, particularly to the Asian market, which accepts small calibres that Australia doesn’t value. Mexico is already exporting and Chile has also just gained access to China, and these two will hopefully help turn avocados into a less exclusive product in the Chinese market.”

Publication date: 12/3/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

Australia, with its huge variety of climates, has the capacity to grow avocados all year-round in different production sites in Queensland and down the east coast.

John Tyas, CEO of the Avocados Australia Board, explains that, “most of this fruit is currently intended for the domestic market, which absorbs about 95% of the production. Exports go mostly to Singapore, Malaysia and a little to the Middle East.”

At the moment, the Board is in the middle of re-negotiations with Thailand because of a new protocol, but it is also looking to enter China, “where there are huge opportunities. We are really interested in gaining access, because a third of Australia’s plantations have yet to come into full production.”

As far as acreage goes, Australia currently has 8,000 hectares, from which 65,000 tonnes are produced per year. “With the new plantings, the production is expected to increase by 50% in the next 5 or 6 years. It won’t be long before we reach 100,000 tonnes per year,” affirms John.

“We still think there’s room for growth domestically, but exports are a very important part of the mix, particularly to the Asian market, which accepts small calibres that Australia doesn’t value. Mexico is already exporting and Chile has also just gained access to China, and these two will hopefully help turn avocados into a less exclusive product in the Chinese market.”

Publication date: 12/3/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

Australia, with its huge variety of climates, has the capacity to grow avocados all year-round in different production sites in Queensland and down the east coast.

John Tyas, CEO of the Avocados Australia Board, explains that, “most of this fruit is currently intended for the domestic market, which absorbs about 95% of the production. Exports go mostly to Singapore, Malaysia and a little to the Middle East.”

At the moment, the Board is in the middle of re-negotiations with Thailand because of a new protocol, but it is also looking to enter China, “where there are huge opportunities. We are really interested in gaining access, because a third of Australia’s plantations have yet to come into full production.”

As far as acreage goes, Australia currently has 8,000 hectares, from which 65,000 tonnes are produced per year. “With the new plantings, the production is expected to increase by 50% in the next 5 or 6 years. It won’t be long before we reach 100,000 tonnes per year,” affirms John.

“We still think there’s room for growth domestically, but exports are a very important part of the mix, particularly to the Asian market, which accepts small calibres that Australia doesn’t value. Mexico is already exporting and Chile has also just gained access to China, and these two will hopefully help turn avocados into a less exclusive product in the Chinese market.”

Publication date: 12/3/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

Australia, with its huge variety of climates, has the capacity to grow avocados all year-round in different production sites in Queensland and down the east coast.

John Tyas, CEO of the Avocados Australia Board, explains that, “most of this fruit is currently intended for the domestic market, which absorbs about 95% of the production. Exports go mostly to Singapore, Malaysia and a little to the Middle East.”

At the moment, the Board is in the middle of re-negotiations with Thailand because of a new protocol, but it is also looking to enter China, “where there are huge opportunities. We are really interested in gaining access, because a third of Australia’s plantations have yet to come into full production.”

As far as acreage goes, Australia currently has 8,000 hectares, from which 65,000 tonnes are produced per year. “With the new plantings, the production is expected to increase by 50% in the next 5 or 6 years. It won’t be long before we reach 100,000 tonnes per year,” affirms John.

“We still think there’s room for growth domestically, but exports are a very important part of the mix, particularly to the Asian market, which accepts small calibres that Australia doesn’t value. Mexico is already exporting and Chile has also just gained access to China, and these two will hopefully help turn avocados into a less exclusive product in the Chinese market.”

Publication date: 12/3/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

Australia, with its huge variety of climates, has the capacity to grow avocados all year-round in different production sites in Queensland and down the east coast.

John Tyas, CEO of the Avocados Australia Board, explains that, “most of this fruit is currently intended for the domestic market, which absorbs about 95% of the production. Exports go mostly to Singapore, Malaysia and a little to the Middle East.”

At the moment, the Board is in the middle of re-negotiations with Thailand because of a new protocol, but it is also looking to enter China, “where there are huge opportunities. We are really interested in gaining access, because a third of Australia’s plantations have yet to come into full production.”

As far as acreage goes, Australia currently has 8,000 hectares, from which 65,000 tonnes are produced per year. “With the new plantings, the production is expected to increase by 50% in the next 5 or 6 years. It won’t be long before we reach 100,000 tonnes per year,” affirms John.

“We still think there’s room for growth domestically, but exports are a very important part of the mix, particularly to the Asian market, which accepts small calibres that Australia doesn’t value. Mexico is already exporting and Chile has also just gained access to China, and these two will hopefully help turn avocados into a less exclusive product in the Chinese market.”

Publication date: 12/3/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Tasmanian fruit production to see rapid expansion

Tasmanian fruit production to see rapid expansion

Tasmania may be part of Australia, but as Phil Pyke of Fruit Growers Tasmania explains, there are a few differences when it comes to fruit production and exports.

“The main advantage enjoyed by Tasmania is its fruitfly free status which gives the exporters direct access to China without having to undergo cold treatment which sometimes damage the fruit,” explains Pyke.

This year, the first shipment of Tasmanian apples was air-freighted to China from Hansen Orchards, followed by the first container of Tasmanian Tiger Fuji apples, grown by Scott Brothers and exported by Hansen Orchards, the largest grower in Tasmania. According to Pyke, these exports have generated strong interest from the Chinese market.

With the exception of stone fruit, all other fruit is seeing rapid expansion in Tasmania. One grower alone is planting 100,000 new apple trees over the next three years. This is directed at the Asian markets but also at the domestic market.

“Tastes are changing from old varieties such as Red Delicious into modern varieties and access to the export markets is vital to absorb this growth. Our berry growers are not traditional exporters but there are opportunities in Thai markets and we are holding workshops for the growers to help them develop an export understanding, including on the requirements of each protocol.

“We have just carried out a full skills analysis to help all our growers for the future in the skills area and we recently had a visit from the President of China to Tasmania. The Tasmanian Government and the Shaanxi Government have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to discuss potential cooperation for training of Chinese apple growers from Shaanxi province, the biggest apple growing region in China.

The potential around the cooperation could see Chinese farmers training in Tasmania to learn growing techniques which produce a premium product while learning what standards are expected by the Chinese market.”

Tasmania has 68,000 km² of land and a population of just 500,000, it is situated ‘on the edge of the world’ and has a great climate for fruit production.

Publication date: 12/2/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

AU: Expanding avocado production seeks opportunities in Asia

Australia, with its huge variety of climates, has the capacity to grow avocados all year-round in different production sites in Queensland and down the east coast. John Tyas, CEO of the Avocados Australia Board, explains that “most of this fruit is currently intended for the domestic market, which absorbs about 95% of the production. Exports go mostly to Singapore, Malaysia and a little to the Middle East.”

At the moment, the Board is in the middle of re-negotiations with Thailand because of a new protocol, but it is also looking to enter China, “where there are huge opportunities. We are really interested in gaining access, because a third of Australia’s plantations have yet to come into full production.”

As far as acreage goes, Australia currently has 8,000 hectares, from which 65,000 tonnes are produced per year. “With the new plantings, the production is expected to increase by 50% in the next 5 or 6 years. It won’t be long before we reach 100,000 tonnes per year,” affirms John.

“We still think there’s room for growth domestically, but exports are a very important part of the mix, particularly to the Asian market, which accepts small calibres that Australia doesn’t value. Mexico is already exporting and Chile has also just gained access to China, and these two will hopefully help turn avocados into a less exclusive product in the Chinese market.”

Publication date: 11/28/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Israeli pomegranate production to increase

Israeli pomegranate production to increase

After last year’s quality issues that limited pomegranate production in Israel, this season’s pomegranate production is set to top that from last season. With harvesting of the Wonderful variety completed, Israeli packers are busy readying this season’s fruit for export.

“We suffered from quality issues that limited yields last year,” said Yoav Nakash of Galil Export. “This year, yields have been quite good, quality has been fine and fruit has a nice, red colour.” Because this year’s fruit has largely been free of the quality problems from last year, there’s more suitable for sale. Nakash estimates that production this season will increase by between 10 and 20 percent over that of last season. Depending on how the final pack-out goes, the nation’s production could be between 20,000 and 23,000 tons. In addition to more fruit, he added that fruit has been bigger, which will sell well on the Russian market.

“About 35 percent of our exports go to Russia, and they mostly take our fruit that’s between 700 grams and 1 kilogram,” explained Nakash. European buyers prefer smaller fruit, so the fruit that is too big to sell in Europe is shipped to Russia. That should help Israeli exporters compete with Turkish exporters, who have made gains with their pomegranate exports. Though the quality of Turkish fruit has improved over the last few years, the market for pomegranates has grown such that there’s enough business for everyone.

“We have an advantage over Turkey in that we can keep our product longer,” said Nakash. “But consumption in Europe has also increased because more consumers know about the health benefits of pomegranates, so that accommodates everyone.” This year’s bigger fruit can also help Israeli shippers expand into Asia, as buyers there also tend to go for larger-sized fruit.

Galil is looking to take advantage of those Asian markets, with special emphasis on China, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. That pomegranates travel well is a big advantage is reaching those markets, which could take up to six weeks to reach by sea. In preparation, Galil has about doubled its production every year for the past three years. While Galil packed and shipped around 3,000 tons of pomegranates last year, with the help of new growers joining the cooperative, Galil is set to export 5,000 tons of fruit this year. The company will ship that fruit until February in two grades: premium, which is the top grade, and vital.

Medjool Dates
In addition to expanding their pomegranate program, Galil has high hopes for their medjool date program. Because dates are sweet and have many health benefits, their popularity is growing with consumers. That the product can be stored for up to two years gives exporters much flexibility when it comes to marketing the product in new markets.

“I think the date market is just beginning, and I think there’s a lot we can do with medjool dates,” said Nakash. “We will sell 1,000 tons of dates this year, and the plan is to increase that to 4,000 tons in five years.”

For more information:
Yoav Nakash
Galilee Export
Tel :+972-36539020
Email: [email protected]
galilee-export.com

Publication date: 11/28/2014
Author: Carlos Nunez / Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

S.C. watermelon production up 64 percent over 2013

Aided by good weather, South Carolina’s 2014 watermelon crop recorded a robust gain of 64 percent over last year’s total, according to a National Watermelon Report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As production ended in early August, the state had shipped almost 81 million pounds of seeded and seedless watermelons.

Georgia, usually the leading state for watermelon production, was still shipping in early August and was close to the 586 million pounds to date.SC-WATERMELON-COOPER-RIVER-Brooke Hastings Allender, South Carolina’s 2014 Watermelon Queen, and watermelon queens from four other states handed out 30,000 free watermelon samples to runners at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC, in March. North Carolina, which was winding down production Aug. 12, reported a total to date of 79 million pounds; last year’s total for the Tar Heel state was close to 102 million pounds.

Matt Cornwell, executive director of the South Carolina Watermelon Association and a marketing specialist with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, said the increased production “was welcomed by our growers, who had a bad year in 2013 when heavy rains during harvest held down production. This year’s harvest was back to normal.”

The South Carolina watermelon harvest began in early June and ended by Aug. 12, for all but two growers, who grew a second, late-harvest crop, Cornwell said. This year’s crop consisted mainly of seedless melons, roughly by a 10 to 1 margin. The Tar Heel state crop was about 85 percent seedless. Both states shipped by truck; Georgia used trucks and piggyback rail, and California used rail and trucks. The Carolinas rank in the top 10 states in the nation for producing watermelon.

Promotion events, usually featuring the South Carolina Watermelon Queen, included college and university football practices; a minor league baseball game; marathons and bridge runs; civic events such as food festivals; visits to farms, hospitals and schools; in-store promotions at Bi-Lo, Giant Foods, Lowe’s, Piggly Wiggly and Whole Foods, among others; and trade shows and news media interviews.

This year, the South Carolina Watermelon Association promoted watermelon at sporting events, with giveaways of fruit slices and signage extolling the health benefits of watermelon. The highlight of the promotions, Cornwell believes, was the Cooper River Bridge run in Charleston, SC, where the association gave away 30,000 five-ounce servings of watermelon, which Cornwell calls “nature’s sports drink.”

For 2015, Cornwell said, “Demand for watermelon is growing, and South Carolina has a natural advantage in that the soil and climate are good for melons. Because of our location, we are one of the first states to have watermelon on the market, and we can reach the major population centers of the East Coast and Midwest. The outlook for 2015, weather permitting, is good. Two growers experimented this year with a late-harvest crop of watermelons, and did really well, shipping into September. I expect we’ll see more growers try a second crop in 2015.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

S.C. watermelon production up 64 percent over 2013

Aided by good weather, South Carolina’s 2014 watermelon crop recorded a robust gain of 64 percent over last year’s total, according to a National Watermelon Report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As production ended in early August, the state had shipped almost 81 million pounds of seeded and seedless watermelons.

Georgia, usually the leading state for watermelon production, was still shipping in early August and was close to the 586 million pounds to date.SC-WATERMELON-COOPER-RIVER-Brooke Hastings Allender, South Carolina’s 2014 Watermelon Queen, and watermelon queens from four other states handed out 30,000 free watermelon samples to runners at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC, in March. North Carolina, which was winding down production Aug. 12, reported a total to date of 79 million pounds; last year’s total for the Tar Heel state was close to 102 million pounds.

Matt Cornwell, executive director of the South Carolina Watermelon Association and a marketing specialist with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, said the increased production “was welcomed by our growers, who had a bad year in 2013 when heavy rains during harvest held down production. This year’s harvest was back to normal.”

The South Carolina watermelon harvest began in early June and ended by Aug. 12, for all but two growers, who grew a second, late-harvest crop, Cornwell said. This year’s crop consisted mainly of seedless melons, roughly by a 10 to 1 margin. The Tar Heel state crop was about 85 percent seedless. Both states shipped by truck; Georgia used trucks and piggyback rail, and California used rail and trucks. The Carolinas rank in the top 10 states in the nation for producing watermelon.

Promotion events, usually featuring the South Carolina Watermelon Queen, included college and university football practices; a minor league baseball game; marathons and bridge runs; civic events such as food festivals; visits to farms, hospitals and schools; in-store promotions at Bi-Lo, Giant Foods, Lowe’s, Piggly Wiggly and Whole Foods, among others; and trade shows and news media interviews.

This year, the South Carolina Watermelon Association promoted watermelon at sporting events, with giveaways of fruit slices and signage extolling the health benefits of watermelon. The highlight of the promotions, Cornwell believes, was the Cooper River Bridge run in Charleston, SC, where the association gave away 30,000 five-ounce servings of watermelon, which Cornwell calls “nature’s sports drink.”

For 2015, Cornwell said, “Demand for watermelon is growing, and South Carolina has a natural advantage in that the soil and climate are good for melons. Because of our location, we are one of the first states to have watermelon on the market, and we can reach the major population centers of the East Coast and Midwest. The outlook for 2015, weather permitting, is good. Two growers experimented this year with a late-harvest crop of watermelons, and did really well, shipping into September. I expect we’ll see more growers try a second crop in 2015.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Hail damage to New Zealand kiwi production limited

According to Oliver Broad, Communications Manager for Zespri
Hail damage to New Zealand kiwi production limited

During early November, three kiwifruit-growing regions in New Zealand were struck by hail, Although it was feared that the hail may have adversely affected the kiwifruit growing season, the damage to the country’s largest horticultural export should be limited, according to Oliver Broad of Zespri.

“We expect the loss to be less than 1%,  so not a significant loss of the total crop. According to many growers, hail at this time of year is unusual, so it did come as a surprise. For green kiwifruit in particular we are pre-fruit set, so we don’t have fruit on the vine yet, so where there has been an impact it is due to buds being knocked off, or damage to the leaf cover.

“The two main regions affected were Nelson and the Bay of Plenty, in the Tauranga and Welcome Bay areas. We’ve had notifications from growers that 110 orchards were affected by the hail damage. Whilst this can be significant for the individuals, we don’t expect significant impact on a national scale. The hail insurance scheme we have for Zespri has however kicked into place for our growers and we are working through that now.

“The rest of the season so far has been good, and we are looking forward to a December estimate, which will give us a more accurate forecast of production volumes. In the large scheme of things, as a company, we are expecting to increase our production this year, and to continue to do so with significant volumes over the next few years, especially with Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit.

“The total supply from Zespri during 2014 was over 90 million trays of kiwifruit, and the outlook for this season is to the tune of 100 million trays, with strong increases in volume over the coming years.

The main driver of our volume growth is the increase in supply of gold kiwifruit, which will reach around 30 million trays in 2015 and over 50 million trays by 2018.”

For more information:
Oliver Broad
Zespri International Limited
Tel: +64 27 509 1839
[email protected]
www.zespri.com

Publication date: 11/18/2014
Author: Katja Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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