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Europe expects dramatic apple season: an overview

The extreme weather conditions in April and May led to considerable losses in the harvest of many European crops. There are many estimations and predictions, but there is little certainty. The German institute AMI provided figures and estimated the total European crop this season to be lower than 10 million tons. Last year the harvest 2016/2017 was estimated at 12 million ton, so that means a decline of 20%.

Belgium - Things not looking rosy 
Kris continues: "For Belgium, things are not looking rosy in any case. We will be able to harvest only up to 20% of the Jonagold. Other varieties, including the Golden and Gala, have done better and the percentage will reach about 50%. Overall, it is expected that between 60 and 70% will be harvested, but it is not certain that the quality will always be good. Both the Doyenné and Durondeau are recording severe drops, with Class II often no longer sold. For the QTee, it seems to be going okay. Of course, we didn't know how the frost would affect this new variety. We have had a pretty good harvest of QTee, of which 70 to 80% are Class I fruit," he concludes.

AMI: Fewer than 10 million tonnes
The German Institute AMI is offering various figures and predicts that the total European harvest this season will fall below 10 million tonnes. The estimated loss for Poland is 50 to 60%; for Belgium, 65 to 70%; for the Netherlands, 30 to 35%; for Austria, 45 to 50%; for Italy, 20 to 25%, and even in the Balkans the losses will oscillate between 50% and 80%. Only Spain and the UK recorded no night frosts. In Lake Constance, prospects point to a 70% drop; however, in the north of Germany, there are areas which have had plenty of irrigation and where only a 10% loss is expected. Prognosfruit will offer more accurate figures in early August.

Overview of losses and forecasts WAPA - June 2017
The forecasts point to a situation comparable to that of 2007, which was a very difficult year. The first cold wave hit the Lublin area. Estimated production losses for apples and pears oscillate between 15 and 20% at the moment. The second frost period hit a much larger area, including the Grojec region. At that moment, there were a lot of trees in bloom, so the damage was estimated at 50 to 60%. The Jonagold and Idared are the most affected varieties. Small calibres are expected. For other fruits, such as cherries and plums, the damage is even more dramatic, with losses reaching up to 90%.

The regions of Lombardia and Piedmont are probably the most affected by the frost. For many growers, the losses range between 40 and 50%. In Trento, there was also significant damage, but it varied depending on the valley. South Tyrol was generally less affected. This was due, among other things, to the good anti-frost systems that were in place. Emilia Romagna was also not heavily affected. The damage to Italian apples is estimated at between 20 and 25%.

There were several night frosts between 20 and 28 April. In the south west and Aquitaine, the impact was small and limited to about 5%. In Central France (Limousin), the impact oscillates between 5 and 10%. In the Rhone and Alps and the Alsace regions, the situation is tougher, with damage ranging from 15 to 50%, depending on the orchard. The total decrease in production in France will amount to around 10%. Moreover, about 10% will be qualitatively not as good.

The damage in the north and east of Germany was not too bad, as the frost is only expected to have affected about 10% of the harvest. In Rheinland, however, bigger losses, of up to 50%, have been recorded. The situation in southern Germany was also difficult, especially in the area of Kostanz, where losses reach up to 70%.

The apple production has been greatly affected, it is estimated that Belgian apple breeders will harvest 65 to 70% less this season. Of the races Jonagold and Jonagored, little is left. The damage to Gala and Golden was not too bad in comparison to the aforementioned varieties. The pear harvest is estimated at 300,000 tonnes and that of apples to between 75 and 85,000 tonnes. For pears, the situation is less dramatic, but a reduction of between 15 and 20% is expected.

The apple production has been greatly affected; it is estimated that Belgian apple growers will harvest 65 to 70% less this season. There is little left of the Jonagold and Jonagored varieties. The damage to Gala and Golden fell in comparison to the aforementioned varieties. The pear harvest is estimated at 300,000 tonnes and appeals 75 to 85,000 tons. In pears it is less dramatic, but a reduction of 15 to 20% is expected.

The Netherlands
Compared to Belgium, the situation in the Netherlands is not too bad. For apples, the harvest volume is expected to fall by between 30 and 35%, while for pears the drop oscillates between 15% and 20%.

The north east of the country, the most important area when it comes to apple production, has been the most hit by frost damage. In total, a loss of about 30% is estimated. The apple harvest is expected to amount to around 600,000 tonnes.

Czech Republic
This country was hit twice by night frosts. There had been potential to harvest 167,000 tonnes this season, but this has now been reduced to an estimate of 125,000 tonnes. The most affected areas were those in the south east of the country. The most severe damage in the Czech Republic was recorded by apricots, pears and cherries.

Slovenia already recorded big losses last year, and things are also looking bad this time. The cold has caused production losses of around 80%, with some orchards having lost up to 100% of the fruit.

Austria had already faced difficulties last season. Back then, a record low production, totalling 40,000 tonnes, was harvested, compared to the average 180,000 tonnes. This year, Austria has been hit again. The worst damage has been recorded in the west of the country. Damage is estimated at about 80%. In the main production region, Styria, the harvest losses are estimated at 50%.

In Ukraine, temperatures dropped as low as -6 degrees Celsius. The impact varied by region. In the west, there was little damage, while the Vinnytsia region was severely affected. It is expected that 40% of the harvest will be lost. In Cherkasy and Mukolaiv, the percentages are even higher. The total volume loss could range from 50 to 60% for apples, and the same for pears. The apple harvest will amount to about 600,000 tonnes and the pear harvest will reach around 80,000 tonnes.

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