Austria's largest apricot growers can breathe a sigh of relief: this weekend the harvest season, though comparatively late, has nevertheless begun in Kittsee. The fact that the sweet fruits - in Kittsee the "Hungarian Best" is the most common variety - can be harvested in large quantities in the border community is no longer a matter of course. In 2020, there was a total failure, and this spring - the coolest in 34 years - did not look too rosy for the Kittsee apricot either.
In the end, however, only slight frost damage was recorded. "We can't meet the demand," says Paradeisz. Michael Habeler is also "in the middle of the apricot harvest" in Wiesen (Mattersburg district). "It's going to be an average year in terms of yield," says the farmer. Above all, the drought is giving the fruit growers a hard time. But the frosty March nights also took a lot out of the farmers, says Habeler. "We protected the apricot trees in our crops at low altitudes with frost candles."
This way of 'heating' costs around 4,000 euros per hectare, plus the time required. Habeler has no plans for a protected cultivation of apricots, as he has been doing for his strawberries for years. This is because the prices for the foil tunnels required for this have risen by about a third due to the extreme increase in the price of steel.
Frost has affected blossoms in the south
Further south, in the orchard of the Nikles family in Kukmirn (Güssing district), the apricots are in a sad state this year. Here, all the blossoms have fallen victim to frost.