The Western Cape province is one of the largest butternut production areas of South Africa. The market requirements are for high-quality fruit, good storage capacity and high yield potential. Much of the production from this area is destined for the export market and the quality of both external and internal characteristics is vital for the product to achieve export grade.
Over the past several seasons, Starke Ayres has been trialling a new range of butternuts to complement the current product range and offer the grower improved varieties.
The trial varieties MO 1015 and MO 1014 have been identified as having exceptional potential to satisfy the demands of the export sector.
MO1015 (proposed name Carla*) is a large, Waltham-shaped, fresh market segment variety with a smooth, dark tan-coloured skin. This variety produced an average fruit size of 1.6 -1.8kg in the trials. The fruit shows high uniformity of both size and shape, resulting in a high pack-out percentage and marketability.
The internal qualities of Carla* are exceptional, with deep orange, very firm flesh. The seed cavity is small, and flesh recovery is high when peeled. The average Brix measurement of the fruit was 7.5° ( Brix is a measurement of sugar content with higher values indicating higher sugar content) compared to the 6.2° market standard.
High yields of uniform fruit were achieved in trials.
MO 1014 is the second new variety which showed great promise in the trials. It produced an average fruit mass of 1.4 -1.6kg, producing slightly smaller fruit than MO 1015. MO 1014 is a fresh product market segment variety aimed at growers that require a smaller fruit size. It shows smooth, tan-coloured skin with firm, deep orange flesh of high quality. The brix of this variety was measured at 8.1°, indicating a very high sugar content.
Again, uniformity in fruit size and shape was impressive and will result in a high pack-out percentage and marketing potential.