South-easterly winds coincide with the first 12 weeks after mandarin petal drop. When these winds become more intense between October and December, they can cause up to 87% of the severe wind-scar damage seen in a season. However, says Heinrich Geldenhuys, such losses can be minimised with suitable windbreaks or other forms of wind protection, resulting in higher export volumes of quality fruit. Geldenhuys is a junior researcher who graduated in April 2022 with an MSc in Horticultural Science degree from Stellenbosch University (SU).
About the value of his study, Geldenhuys says: “Much of what we know about the impact of windbreaks and their use, especially in the Western Cape, was last researched in the early 2000s. Understandably, the industry has since had many other issues to consider in terms of research, such as how to control false codling moth and mitigate alternate bearing. However, windbreaks are not a topic that one can simply let be, because their correct use can benefit fruit quality and producers’ profit margins.”
Tegnologie CRI | SA Fruit Journal