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Apples can be stored until Christmas

Poland: “Massive shortage of apples for first time in 50 years”

The damage in Poland due to frost may get even worse than was previously thought. Bart Lieseborghs of the Belgian Lievefruit is a cultivation advisor in Poland. He says the estimate of 40 per cent is for the entire harvest, including old varieties and industrial. “I think, looking purely at new, commercial varieties for the fresh market, there will be much more damage. We would then be speaking of a 60 per cent loss. The quality damages of the remaining fruit are even more difficult to predict. Damage could then amount to 75 per cent. About a quarter of undamaged fruit will be left over. It will definitely not be a good year for Poland. The growers who still have fruit, however, will be getting very good prices.”

Everyone is affected
In the other apple-producing countries, frost had already struck. “Poland was the only remaining country, but that’s no longer the case. This season, we will have a massive shortage of apples for the very first time. There usually is a region that’s unaffected by damages, but now everyone has been affected. Even Poland won’t be able to make up the difference. This year is catastrophic. Europe has been wiped out. It’s the first time in 50 years that there’s so much general damage. And it’s even worse for stone fruit, compared to top fruit.”

Weather after the frost
He indicates there won’t be much left over in Poland. The largest fruit growing region in Poland – good for about 50 per cent of the country’s production – was hit hard. Grójec is south of Warsaw, and in the centre of the fruit growing region. “Everything is gone, except for some older varieties, including Idared, which is more resistant to frost. Commercial varieties such as Golden and Jonagold are very damaged. Much rain fell before the frost, so the trees were already stressed. The cold came on top of that, causing much damage.” People will now have to wait and see what the weather will do. “After the frost, we in Belgium had bad weather, so that won’t do the flowers any favours. Everything that needed pollination, didn’t make it here. Poland has better weather after the frost. The remaining flowers might do all right.”

Storing apples
Various growers have decided to store their fruit until next season. “If they’re still strong, I’d advise my customers to save them, on the condition that they conduct a weekly shelf life inspection. If they’re good quality, apples could be stored until Christmas. This would concern top quality fruit of the first harvest. Storing apples for 18 months shouldn’t be a problem with the storage options nowadays. That way, we might be able to bridge a few more months. This can only be done with certain strains such as Golden and Jonagold, it’s not an option for Elstar.”   

For more information:
Bart Liesenborghs
+32 472 800 524

Publication date: 5/18/2017


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