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Severe frost damage to fruit in Austria

This year's dessert fruit produce grown in orchards (with the exception of elderberries and amonia) came to 84,200 metric tonnes, according to Statistics Austria. This translates as one third of a normal harvest (based on a ten-year average) and less than one third of the previous year's figure (-67%). This year's cold spring is primarily responsible for the bad harvest, which caused great damage, especially in the Styrian orchards.

Almost all fruit sorts were affected. The small amount of dessert fruits which could be harvested this year were lacking quality - many of them were deformed or rotten inside, or had been otherwise badly affected by the frost. 

Stone fruit grown in orchards amounted to 65,000 metric tonnes this harvest, 71% less than last year. Compared to the ten year average, this amount was distinctly low (-69%). 93% of the fruit were apples (60,800 metric tonnes, -72% compared to 2015) of which 58% were from Styrian orchards. The pear harvest yielded 4,800 metric tonnes, down 52% from last year. 

With stone fruit, half of a normal harvest was achieved. The production amounted to 6,600 metric tonnes, which corresponds to a loss of 50% compared with the previous year. With apricots, a harvest volume of 4,200 metric tonnes was achieved (-39% from 2015), whereby yields varied widely according to the regional situation - from comparatively high yields to the frost-induced utter loss of harvest in parts of the Wachau. 

The damsons amounted to only 840 metric tonnes, (-66% from 2015). Cherries and sour cherries totalled 780 metric tonnes (-61% from last year). 

When it came to berries (excluding elderberries and aronia), the smallest losses were recorded. However, here too, with an amount of 11,900 metric tonnes, only a below-average result was achieved (-32% from the ten-year average). Compared to 2015, a drop of 29% was recorded. 

The aronia harvest, (collected for the first time) amounted to 1,400 metric tonnes. These fruits are mainly processed into juices or jam, but are also used for dye production.

With elderberries, which are primarily used for making food colouring, the harvest amounted to 6,900 metric tonnes, which was just under 80% of last year's yield. 

Walnuts, on the other hand, fell victim to the frost almost everywhere, which led to a harvest of only 85 metric tonnes, which is 90% down from 2015.

Source: Proplanta
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