New South African apple discovery set to make big bucks
South African marketer and distributor of apples and pears Tru-Cape has discovered a new superior clone in the Gala family.
Bigbucks is a mutation of Corder Gala, another strain discovered by a Tru-Cape grower, and is a result of varietal work by Tru-Cape’s expert Buks Nel who made the find in an orchard on the Oak Valley Estate.
The apple is set to be successful because of its high color and stability, two aspects that can plague Gala-type apples, according to Nel.
"Deep in its soul a Gala is an unstable varietal with between 5% and 50% of trees planted not being true to type. Bigbucks is the exception so growers know when they plant a Bigbucks tree they will always get Bigbucks fruit," Nel says in a release.
"Another, albeit cosmetic improvement, is the deep full wine red that the fruit achieves from early in its life while most Gala types are striped. While redness is usually an indication of ripeness, with Bigbucks the fruit is full red from the start which also means a higher percentage pack-out.
"Normally a Gala tree needs to be picked on three different occasions to find fruit of the right color spec, now trees can be picked once."
Tru-Cape’s managing director Roelf Piennar says like Royal Beaut, discovered by Robert Zulch on Wakkerstroom in the Witzenberg Valley in Ceres, Corder Gala by Derek Corder on Beaulieu in Grabouw and now Bigbucks, Tru-Cape is leading the way in terms of developing better strains and growing practices.
"We are incredibly proud of Buks as this discovery is the just reward of a lifetime of passion and commitment to the fruit industry and frequent orchard walks, something of a rarity nowadays," says Tru-Cape’s managing director Roelf Pienaar.
Ceres grower and Tru-Cape’s procurement manager, Calla du Toit, helped Nel to register the Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR), which remains valid for 25 years. He also believes Bigbucks is the 'find of the decade' because of its pack-out potential and trees planted in Ceres show the same potential as those planted in Grabouw.
"Although the numbers are still being finalized, growers that purchase Bigbucks will pay a royalty to plant the tree and a levy on every carton of Bigbucks fruit being sold.
“Tru-Cape will manage this process and ensure the returns are shared among the PBR owners.
"Gala is among the most plant varietal in the world and there is every reason to think that the 1,700 Bigbucks trees currently in the ground and the 20,000 to be planted this next season, will grow exponentially."