Lush yields for fruit, low prices and quality losses for vegetables

Growers and farmers in Switzerland look back on good harvest year

A record plum harvest, above average yields of apples, pears, cherries, apricots and raspberries. After the frost-related bad harvests of last year, Mother Nature was kinder this year for Swiss fruit farmers. Reasons for the big harvest of this year: This year the trees were more "rested" in many regions, year, as they had little or no fruit last year because of the frost. On the other hand, ideal conditions prevailed: persistently dry and warm weather, lots of sunlight and only low incidences of diseases or pests.

Full apple stocks
At the end of November 2018, around 60% more apples were in storage than a year ago. The most important varieties are Gala and Golden Delicious.

Full pear stocks
At the end of November 2018 there were four times more pears in stock than last year. The main varieties are Emperor Alexander, Conférence and Gute Luise.

Good apricot harvest
The 2018 apricot harvest is 17% above the average of the last 5 years. The main growing area is Wallis.

A record harvest of 4,645 tons: The fruit farmers have never picked as many plums as 2018. The bumper harvest is around 50% above the average of the last 5 years.

Above average cherry harvest
With around 2,500 tons, the 2018 cherry harvest is just under 20% above the average of the last 5 years. This year, there were not only more cherries, but also significantly more large cherries (with a diameter of 28mm or more).

Strawberry harvest: Not a good year
The 2018 strawberry harvest is 11% below the average of the last 5 years. The strawberry season started early this year and the warm, dry weather accelerated ripening.

Raspberries: A good year
The raspberry harvest 2018 is 13% above the average of the last 5 years. The acreage is 168 hectares this year, 3% larger than the average of the last 5 years.

Vegetables: A demanding year
For vegetable producers, 2018 was a challenging year. It was characterized by low prices, occasional overproduction and drought. According to the Association of Swiss Vegetable Producers, the lettuce season started later than last year, but the quantities went up sharply shortly after the harvest due to the extremely warm spring. Drought and heat caused failures later in the year. The volume of carrots at the start of the season was large as well.

This year, tomato production was higher than last year as well. Sales of large quantities faltered, which put pressure on prices. The asparagus harvest was above average this year. In many places, their producers had to irrigate large areas due to the dry and hot summer, which drove up production costs. These vegetables were produced only through a lot of labor and irrigation.

Potatoes: good quality
The 2018 potato harvest, which was estimated by Swisspatat at 446,978 tons, is a good 14,000 tons below last year's levels and the average of the last 10 years. Despite the dry conditions, the area yield of 403 kg per are is only slightly below that of the previous year.

Farmers planted their potatoes late this year because of the low temperatures. As the spring was sunny and warm, this benefited the potatoes, so that -depending on the region- they could be harvested 1 to 2 weeks earlier than usual. Their quality is mostly good, although in some regions the drought negatively affected the potatoes - especially in the Northeast of the country. Dry soils also made harvesting difficult.

Source:  lid

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