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German cherry harvest picks up speed:

Lush harvest estimates in Baden-Württemberg and the Altes Land region, record losses in Thuringia

"Due to the early blossoming, the cherry harvest is also particularly early this year," explains Claus Schliecker, Chairman of the fruit-growing section of Landvolk Niedersachsen. He and his colleagues are investing around 120,000 euros per hectare in covering the cherry trees with film to protect them from rain and nets to protect them from birds and insect pests. Although this means that fewer pesticides need to be used, together with the increased minimum wage of currently 12.41 euros per hour, the Altländer fruit growers' expenditure adds up to a considerable sum. After each harvest, it is carefully rolled up and protected from UV light in winter before being unrolled again the following year - around four to five weeks before the harvest. "Reliable cherry cultivation is only possible under roofs," says the fruit grower. Otherwise, when it rains, the cherries would soak up water to equalise the concentration of the sweet juice inside and eventually burst.

"We have a low level of self-sufficiency in fruit in Germany because it is so expensive to grow," regrets Schliecker. As a result, the area under cherry cultivation in the Altes Land region has stagnated at around 500 hectares for years. The tried and tested Regina cherry variety, which was bred in the Altes Land, is still predominant: "It is perfectly adapted to our climate and therefore all new varieties are measured against it," says Schliecker. Its fruit is worth the wait. "As with asparagus, appreciation increases when cherries are not available all year round," is his experience.

Lush cherry harvest expected in Baden-Württemberg
Despite heavy rain and frost, this year's cherry harvest in Baden-Württemberg could be significantly better than in previous years. This is according to initial estimates from the harvest reporters at the State Statistical Office. "Although there was frost during the flowering period and heavy rainfall later on, the initial estimates are largely positive," the authority announced in Fellbach on Monday.

For sweet cherries, the statisticians are currently expecting an average yield of just under 8.3 tonnes per hectare. That would be around 56 per cent more than last year. Compared to the six-year average, the increase would be around a fifth. In mathematical terms, this is expected to result in a harvest volume of around 21,000 tonnes.

Thuringia: Lowest harvest volume for over 20 years
More than two thirds of the cherry harvest in Thuringia this year fell victim to a cold night at the end of April. "The last time there was a comparably low cherry harvest was in 2002," the State Statistical Office stated on Monday, after presenting a yield forecast in Erfurt. A yield of only 1.8 tonnes per hectare is expected for sweet cherries. This is around 70 per cent less than in 2023 and the long-term average. The forecast yield for sour cherries is 3.6 tonnes per hectare - a drop of more than 62 per cent. The Ministry of Agriculture has announced immediate aid for growers who, according to their lobby group, would otherwise be threatened with insolvency.

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