Summary of the 2020 Haskap Harvesting Season

21/08/2020

Please find below some remarks on the 2020 Haskap berry harvesting season. It was the third in a row harvesting season on our still young Haskap plantations. All  the data quoted and the descriptions presented in this report refer solely to our plantations in Muniakowice,  Malopolska Province, Poland (PLANTIN). Detailed numerical data referring to this year’s crops shall be presented in a separate table: 2020_haskap_report

 

Our observations and remarks.

  1. In the summer of 2019, after the harvest, the Haskap varieties grown in the oldest part of our orchard (approx. 3ha), whose production characteristics once again did not prove themselves in our conditions, were cut out. In total, half of the existing orchard was eradicated. In the autumn of 2019, ‘Vostorg’, ‘Aurora’ and ‘Honeybee’ varieties grown in the M-40 plug-trays were planted in place of the unproductive bushes.
  2. An orchard covering 8 ha of land, set up in the autumn of 2017 and in the spring of 2018 (grown for the third year now) gave fruits for the first time this year together with 1,5 ha of 5 years old orchard.
  3. Last winter was exceptionally mild and humid and Haskaps survived it well – no autumnal flowering or flower development in winter were observed. However, the upper buds on the branches remained enlarged throughout the whole winter and flower buds appeared already in February. The beginning of February was warm, the temperature reached between ten and twenty degrees Celsius. On the first of February bees made their first flight of the season and the temperature amounted to 16o
  4. Flowering commenced in the third decade of March and lasted till the first days in May, longer than the year before. The days during the flowering were warm and sunny, ideal for plants and pollinating insects, but unfortunately the nights were chilly, even with the temperature drops down to –7o However, the Haskap flowers were not damaged in such low temperatures. The number of fruit buds promised an exceptionally good harvest. Unfortunately, after flowering in May, ground frost appeared at night with the temperature drops down to below –5oC which made the fruit buds fall off the bushes. In the coldest places of the five-year-old orchard all the fruit buds fell off the bushes, ‘Jugana’ and ‘Vostorg’ suffered the most. The Canadian varieties lost fewer fruit buds, probably because of their later flowering and fruiting seasons. On a younger, two-year-old plantation located on elevation, the losses of fruit buds were the smallest but despite this it gave a crop smaller by 30-50% than as expected.
  5. The Haskap berries in 2020 were smaller in size than in the preceding seasons and their Brix level did not exceed 16o. Their harvesting commenced on the 2nd of June and ended on the 10th of June. The fruits of ‘Vostorg’, ‘Sinij Utes’ and ‘Jugana’ ripened the earliest, followed by the fruits of ‘Honeybee’, ‘Aurora’, ‘Boreal Beast’ and ‘Boreal Beauty’. The American varieties gave their first crop the latest. Detailed data can be found in a table.
  6. This year, we examined the usefulness of another harvester for mechanical harvesting of Haskap berries. It was a Dutch Oxbo 930, used curtesy of the Daar company, and dedicated to the highbush blueberry harvesting. It was a full-row harvester, propelled by the PTO of a medium power tractor.

 

Our conclusions after harvesting Haskap berries from the area of more than 4ha:

  • thanks to a precise adjustment of the harvester’s parameters it was possible to harvest high quality fruits, even for the fresh fruit market, directly to plastic containers placed in greater, shallow boxes
  • two- or three-time harvesting was possible – it is vital in the case of the varieties whose fruits do not ripen at the same time or when the weather conditions do not allow for a one-time harvesting; the second and the third crop shall be meant for the fruit processing
  • the fruit shaking long “fingers” did not damage the bushes, the harvester was silent and workers easily and quickly mastered its operations
  • while shaking the fruits off the bushes with a narrow base the amount of fruits which fell on the ground was rather small, even less than 5%, and in the case of the bushes with a broad base the losses were greater, up to 15–20% in the five-year-old ‘Aurora’ or ‘Vostorg’ plants which implies that during the winter trimming the bushes should be trimmed in such a way that they remained the narrowest at their bottoms and the fruiting zone was located as high as possible
  • fruits elongated in shape, after being shaken off the bush, fell onto the harvester’s moving plates and sometimes stayed still on them; especially flattened fruits found it more difficult to roll down to the transporter; “elevating” the sphere of fruit bearing in bushes by means of proper trimming will make it possible to increase the angle of tilting of the moving plates catching the fruits and will make it easier for them to roll onto the transporter thus decreasing the risk of their mechanical damage
  • on the whole, we can say that the above-mentioned harvester performed well on our plantation, we are of the opinion that after small adjustments to the machine and proper trimming of the bushes it will be possible to harvest high quality crops out of which a considerable part will be meant for the fresh fruit market.

 

Detailed numerical data referring to individual varieties are presented in a table in Polish, Russian and English.

 

Prepared by Justyna Kusibab-Mruk and Tadeusz Kusibab

Krakow, Poland. 10 July 2020.