“QTee pears' prospects look good so far. The trees have finished shedding. We found we'll have at least the same harvest as last year. That was during a growers' meeting," says Kris Wouters of Fruithandel Wouters in Belgium. "We still have to prune most plots by hand. It won't be too much work this year, though. We also expect to pick less Class 2 fruit. The frost has affected occasional orchards. But it seems we have fewer Class 2 pears than last year."
Reports from overseas are encouraging, adds Wouter. "The reports from Spain are very positive. They expect a good, full harvest. The prospects from the French Loire Valley are also favorable. Even better than the other regional varieties. But, the news from the south of that country isn't as good. There's significantly less QTee in southern France. However, other fruit, like stone fruit, has also suffered considerable frost damage. In Italy, where there's little QTee anyway, the reports are also less rosy. Slovakia and Switzerland, on the other hand, have much better harvest forecasts," he says.
“There was frost in April, and May was cold and dark. So we're expecting to begin harvesting QTee pears between ten and 15 days later. Last year we were able to start by the end of July. This year that'll be in about mid-August. That's actually the normal start to the harvest. But in recent years, we began very early. That was due to the warm, sunny weather."
This year the QTee acreage has also been expanded somewhat. "In France and Belgium, they've planted plenty of trees. Contracts have also been signed in Chile and Finland, and trees are being planted. The first plantings have also been done in Ireland and Canada. It's great that so many countries have joined over the years," Kirs concludes.