Frequently asked questions about harvesting mangoes
- When are my mangoes ready to pick?
- How do I avoid sapburn?
- Which sapburn protectant should I use?
- How should I harvest my mangoes?
When are my mangoes ready to pick?
Fruit that is ready for harvest should have a minimum dry matter of 14 per cent and should well filled at the beak and shoulders. When the fruit is cut open, the internal flesh is a uniform pale yellow. The internal flesh of immature fruit is white.
How do I avoid sapburn?
Sapburn occurs when the sap that first squirts from the fruit at de-stemming comes into contact with the fruit skin. It is worst in Kensington Pride. Use harvesting and handling techniques that minimise sap coming into contact with mango skin.
Which sapburn protectant should I use?
The choice of protectant chemical depends on the harvest and de-sapping system being used. The two main ones are:
- picking with stems and de-sapping in the packing shed. The fruit is covered with detergent before the stalk is removed to prevent sap directly contacting the skin. As the fruit is placed on the packing line, water sprays remove the detergent and any sap residue. The best choices in this situation are detergents such as Cold Power® or LOC, or wetting agents such as Agral®. The mixing rate is 1 mL or 1 g per litre of water. Staff who desap fruit must keep their hands clean of sap as a lot of sapburn has been attributed to ´sappy fingers´
- using harvest aids or desapping into a detergent solution. These handling systems leave sap residues on the fruit, and a neutralising additive such as Mango Wash® or hydrated lime is the most effective chemical for the wash solution. Mango Wash® is a neutraliser and detergent mixture, and needs no additives. When hydrated lime is used, it is mixed with a detergent such as Agral®. The mixing rate is 10 g of hydrated lime with 1 mL of Agral® per litre of water.
How should I harvest my mangoes?
There are two major harvesting and handling systems that minimise sapburn and skin browning. Both are effective when used correctly:
- pick mangoes with stems attached and de-sap (take the stems off) them in the packing shed
- use harvest aids and de-sap mangoes in the field.