Bravo apple production set to increase by one million kilograms in just one year


Production of the Bravo apple, a new Australian variety famous for its dark burgundy skin and sweet flesh, is expected to climb a million pounds last year.

But industry players say the variety still has a long way to go to meet long-term production targets of around 50,000 tonnes per year by 2035.

Around 3,000 tonnes of premium fruit will be branded and sold on supermarket shelves under the Bravo label in 2021 – around 45% more than the previous season as plantings grow and trees mature.

Bravo’s national development director, Sean Engelbrecht, said despite significant year-over-year growth, production was still in its infancy.

“I would say at this point we’re at our lowest point of production,” he said.

“There is still work to be done to achieve this end goal.

“We need to invest large-scale commercial growers in variety, which we think is positive.”

Well done in a tree
The Bravo variety was first released by the WA government for commercial planting in 2014 and is known for its dark red skin and sweet flavor.(

ABC South West WA: Jess Hayes

)

More fruit, less waste

The WA government, owner of the variety, recently lowered color specifications for premium fruit amid producer concerns that too much product was going to be wasted.

Mr Engelbrecht said the changes would likely represent a 5-10% increase in packing rates this season compared to 2020.

Pomewest president Mark Scott said the revised standards would mean better yields for growers and more fruit on the shelves.

“Now the revised specifications will allow producers to recover more without affecting the quality of consumption for the consumer.

“This will give growers a much greater confidence in the variety over the longer term. Anything that improves growers’ results and encourages them to reinvest and plant more and serve export markets.”

Total production is expected to reach between 4,000 and 4,500 tonnes this year, which means about a quarter would not meet premium specifications.

As part of the changes, there are also more permitted uses for the second grade fruit sold under the name Bravo.

“In previous seasons we’ve had to limit this to the general public, so food processors and mining camps – non-commercial and non-metropolitan,” he said.

This season, we have permission to retail them on the metro, provided it’s in a prepackaged form if it goes into the same store as Bravo in bulk.

“This year there has been a significant increase both in terms of the specifications, but also the uses allowed on those specifications for premium and class two fruit.”

Stronger and stronger fruit

Tom Sheehan grows apples in Donnybrook, about two hours south of Perth.

He said that despite the start-up issues he was more and more satisfied with the strain every season.

“I think mastering the culture will be the secret,” he said.

“As the apple progresses, I become a fan and I’m all for planting more.

Close-up of Bravo apples at Manjimup June 2020.
Bravo color specifications were lowered after producers became concerned that the initial cosmetic requirements were too high, resulting in low packaging rates.(

ABC Fixed: Jessica Hayes

)

Trees abroad

Mr. Engelbrecht said the growing volume and increasingly stable production has enabled the industry to establish new export markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

The WA government has approved shipments to Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.

Mr Engelbrecht said about 15 percent of this year’s crop would be exported but represented a growing share of the market.

“Exports have been about threefold year over year, which is still a fairly small percentage of our total distribution, but the increase has been quite aggressive over the past three years,” he said. -he declares.

“This is our sixth sales season. It is only now that we are starting to get enough volumes for supermarkets overseas to bid on and be successful.”

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