Soaring temperatures are likely to have a significant impact on European apples and pears.

While the EU apple crop is only currently forecast to be 3% down on last year, the 6,947,000 estimate at Prognosfruit may face substantial revision.

The heat is expected to produce small fruit size and skin scorching, leading to rejection both on tree and at packhouse. Pears may also suffer with the crop already down 9%.

Despite this, a shortage of product is unlikely. Europe has long had apple overproduction, although pears remain more in balance with demand.

France is only 2% light on
paper at this time, while Italy is 6% down.

Holland shows a 4% increase in apples while Belgium has dropped 21%. These two countries are equally important as an exporter of pears to the UK, 11% and 18% down respectively.

UK apples are 7% up, but Bramleys are down 8%, and pears have dropped by a fifth. Meanwhile growers everywhere are seeking more niche varieties because of the falling profitability of the major commodity lines.

European Goldens are down 7% to 2.3 million tonnes, Red Delicious has been cut by a quarter to 529,000 tonnes, while Granny Smith at 351,000 tonnes remains stable.

Relative newcomers such as Braeburn continue to increase, 4% up to 259,000 tonnes, following a similar pattern to Gala, up 6% to 763,000 tonnes.

Fuji has reached 93,000 tonnes, a 16% rise, although Pink Lady at 53,000 tonnes has dropped marginally because of this year’ s growing conditions.
Ed Bedington