The estimate was presented last week at the Prognosfruit event in Poland, which is now the largest apple producer in the EU, according to trade sources.
Polish growers produce 2.5 million tonnes annually, outstripping the Italians at 2.1 million tonnes and the French at 1.7 million tonnes.
But in spite of Poland’s significance in volume terms, analysts will still be focusing on the 15 top Western European producers when looking for key trends.
This is because while Poland
produces 200,000 tonnes of Gala apples every year, the majority that it grows are less popular varieties such as Idared, Lobo and Cortland.
This season, the EU 15 expect to harvest 4% more apples and 12% more pears. This will maintain balance in the market, rather than create drastic over-supply, say experts.
Within the EU 15, trends in varieties reflect a move towards bicoloured apples such as Braeburn, which is up 19% with tonnages of up to 285,000 tonnes - the highest yet.
Elstar will reach 392,000 tonnes (up 15%) and Gala 741,000 (up 8%).
Golden Delicious, while still the largest single variety at 2.2 million tones, has continued to shrink this year by 3%.
Pink Lady continues to climb to 63,000 tonnes (up 26%), while varieties such as Jonagold, Jonagored and Ida Red are static or falling.
Pear production in the EU 15 is up on last year in every country except Spain, which is 15% down. The UK crop is virtually unchanged from last year, say experts.