AgrarMarkt Austria: Market Report Fruits and Vegetables, September 2019

New harvest revives Austrian apple market

Like every year in September, Austria's apple growers and storekeepers, had their hands full. In addition to the development of the fruit, the right picking time is of decisive importance for the storage success and the taste. While the main harvest of Galas was coming to an end, the harvest of Arlets, Elstars, Jonagolds nd other reached its peak.

The cultures are basically very satisfactory. However, as a direct result of a too cold spring, followed by prolonged drought and heat in the summer months, the sizes are mostly below average. Also, Austria's main variety, Gala, is rather small due to the weather- tends to be rather small at 65-70 mm. This naturally also has an influence on the final production volume of the Gala yield, which will presumably be smaller this year compared to the previous year.

What happened in the sales market? Regarding the conventional wholesale prices, the hoped-for relaxation was noticeable, especially for the new harvest. Gala climbed from by 5% EUR 0.61 / kg in August to EUR 0.64 / kg, thus approaching the previous year's level. Golden Delicious also pulled through and posted an eight-month high at EUR 0.57 / kg. This was an increase of 19% compared to the previous month. Crown Prince Rudolf was at EUR 1.63 / kg in September, 9% above the previous year. Idared and Jonagold 2018 were and are still being sold at low prices, in order to advance the sales accordingly.

The inventory of dessert apples (org & conv.) -recorded by Agrarmarkt Austria- nationwide decreased by 12,812 t in August and was at 10,900 t at the reporting date of 1 September. Nearly two thirds of these are of the Jonagold, Golden Delicious and Idared varieties. Of the latter, stocks will be emptied in time for the Octoer's new harvest. Furthermore, enough Jonagold will be available.

The export was subject to seasonal self-sufficiency in the target countries. The forecasts for the growing areas in France, Spain and Italy point to a larger long-term average harvest. In Germany, the estimate is minus 15% for the 2019/2020 marketing year, which is not really surprising after last year's record harvest.

Stable carrot prices
The sale of carrots accelerated, due to the end of the summer holidays and the cooler temperatures. Harvest volumes were in line with constant demand and the stable prices in Lower Austria, which leveled out at the previous year's levels as the season progressed. Also, the wholesale demand for fresh conventional carrots, washed, sorted and packaged, averaged EUR 0.51 / kg at the ramp over September. The marketing had been restricted mainly to the domestic market.

Summer onion harvest on the home stretch
In September, the summer onion harvest, despite weather-related interruptions, was good. As with other cultures, the heat and dryness of the past summer had affected the sizes. Larger poduce will therefore remain the exception at the sorting stage. The weighted wholesale price for Austrian onions of all types (yellow, red, white) averaged EUR 0.36 / kg. The important export market was still calm.

Clearing domestic potatoes far advanced
Thanks to the favorable weather conditions, the harvest progressed well. The yield per hectare could differ greatly, even within smaller regions. The scale ranges from less than 20 t / ha to over 30 t / ha. The tubers are small in many places, but in very good condition. Qualitatively there are far less complaints this year. The domestic potato market started was balanced in September, being quite receptive. Deliveries to the marketers and processors ran steadily. Promotional measures and actions by food retailers provided additional impulses. The most frequent producer prices in Lower Austria for firm cooking varieties in September were well above the previous year's level at EUR 25.00 to 30.00 / ton.

The Association of Potato Growers in the EU's top five growing nations (NEPG) expects prices for consumer potatoes to rise in late autumn. The countries of France, Belgium, Holland, Great Britain and Germany will harvest an estimated 27 to 27.3 million tonnes of consumer potatoes. This is 3% more than the average of the last five years and 12% more than in 2018. It is not the yield that creates this surplus, but cultivation on a larger acreage. French farmers have grown 14% more potatoes than the 5-year average. The average yield in the NEPG member states is estimated at 44.7 tons / ha, in the 5-year average it was 47.1 tons / ha and in 2018 it was 40.9 tons / ha. It should be noted that the figures presented in the NEPG are predictions that may or may not be corrected as the harvesting work progresses.

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