The 2018 European apple and pear crop forecast estimates that most European countries are moving back to a full crop, after experiencing a severe setback last year due to April and early May frosts.
On 9 August 2018, 300 representatives of the international apple and pear sector met at the Prognosfruit Conference in Warsaw, Poland. During the conference, the World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) released the 2018 European apple and pear crop estimates. This year, the apple production in the EU is set at 12,6 milion T due to favourable weather conditions. This represents a recovery of 36% compared to last year’s low crop but it is only a 3% increase compared to the average crop of 2014 to 2016 .
Another full harvest
This year’s apple crop is going back to a complete crop due to favourable climatic conditions across Europe with mild winter, no late frost, and limited impact of hail so far. The crop forecast for apple production stands at 12,6 milion T, with a strong crop in Poland and average crop in Italy and France. Warmer conditions during blossoming and fruit setting led to the crop being ready for picking ca two weeks earlier than average in the north-ern regions.
No more stocks
Stocks from last season are already cleared from the market and there is limited presence of Southern Hemisphere fruit, hence there will e no overhanging stocks on the market. This means that market will soon be supplied by fresh apples. There will also be a strong demand for apple from the processing industry. Additionaly, the larger crop is part of a process of varietal diversification to meet new consumer expectations, leading to a market with multiple dynamics.
Large quantities, good quality
If the forecast production materializes, it would be the largest crop ever recorded in the EU. However, the drought in North-West Europe may have a negative impact of fruit size, thus reducing actual production. Germany, for example, already anticipates a reduction of the forecast by about 50,000 t (about 5% of the original German forecast and 0,5% of the EU forecast).
Fruit quality is generally good with the exception of potential problems with sunburn and fruit colouring. Organic production contributes 3,5% of total apple production.