Slightly decreased Prognosfruit forecast for European apple and pear

23 October 2018
Due to the favourable weather events all over Europe in spring and early summer, Prognosfruit forecasted an apple crop of 12.6 million tonnes and a pear crop of 2.3 million tonnes. However, as the abundant sun and high temperatures continued over summer and turned into spells of drought in especially the northern part of Europe, several contributors to the Prognos report modified their initial apple forecast figures. The current total figure is set at 12.5 million tonnes for apple. The 2018 EU crop is dominated by the ongoing growth of among other Polish production and the return of the Central European Member States to a normal crop after last years’ frost. However, other leading Member States such as France, Italy and Germany are reporting a moderate crop. A more definite forecast with follow end of November, when harvesting season is all but finished.
Germany experienced higher temperatures than normal, with a continuous period of drought, which has impacted the apple crop.
The crop forecast from August decreased by 6% from 990.000 to 934.000 tonnes, with some regions being more affected than the others. Only Northern Germany had enough water in the orchards by means of sprinkling, whilst the other regions were too dry.
The Czech Republic indicated a decrease of 15% compared with their initial forecast to 128.000 tonnes for apple, and a decrease of over 25% compared to July to 8.000 tonnes for pear. The harvest has been affected by the continuous drought since April and high temperatures, which led to small sizes and an increased number of fruits destined for processing: up to 65% for apple and 33% for pear. Also France has modified its initial forecast slightly downwards from 1.502.000 to 1.477.000 tonnes for apple and from 135.000 to 134.000 tonnes for pear.
Italy confirms the forecast made at the beginning of August. In general, the quality, sizing, and colouring are good, under influence of good weather conditions during harvest. Certain regions were hit by hail, which could lead to a higher quantity of fruits going to processing. Belgium had already modified its forecast downwards before the publication of the Prognos report in the beginning of August, taking the drought into account. Updated figures will become available in November. The Netherlands had a high initial forecast and planned to revise its figures downwards. However, precipitation during the harvest led to a crop of good quality and quantity. Figures will most likely be kept of even revised upwards.
Poland indicated that the yield for apple might be even higher than the initial forecast, which could even out the slightly lower figures from the other contributors as indicated above. However, a bigger proportion of Polish apples would go to the processing industry. Overall, the final volume harvested could also be influenced by shortage of work force and storage.
In the meantime, US Apple Outlook has forecasted the figure of 4.880.000 tonnes for apple, which is slightly down from the initial forecast of 4.914.000 tonnes. The Canadian forecast is set at 341.249 tonnes.
Overall, the drought and heat in northern, western and eastern Europe have had an impact on the forecast for apple and pear, with a current difference of 100.000 tonnes downwards. However, these figures are still subject to change as they only reflect the revised forecasts from the major contributors that provided information. WAPA will continue to monitor the developments in the fresh and the processing markets, and will publish more detailed updated figures for the northern hemisphere in November 2018, before releasing the consolidated figures in January 2019.

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