With the first part of this year’s harvesting on its way, the World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) has started revising its annual Apple and Pear Crop Forecast based on the latest insights from its members on the season.
The first EU apple estimates, which were released on 3 August 2023 during the Prognosfruit Conference, indicated a 3,3% decrease compared to last year, to a total of 11.410.681 t. The EU pear crop for 2023 was estimated to decrease by 12,9% compared to last year´s crop with a total of 1.745.632 t.
The early forecast is released during Prognosfruit, when harvesting is just about to start. The crop can therefore still be impacted by nature and climatic factors up to late October, with either a positive or negative impact on the quantity and quality of the harvest. Historically, these adjustments to the forecast amounted to small percentage variations.
The first updates from Prognosfruit’s network of national producing associations indicate that climate change-related conditions negatively affected the crop in the weeks following the publication of the original estimates. The climatic havoc included droughts, floodings, hail, warm nights, and an increased risk of pests across the EU. In other cases, rains and colder nights have positively impacted the size development and colouring respectively in some producing regions.
Regarding this season, while the apple harvesting is still expected to carry on for several weeks, based on the first regional adjustments (both upward and downward) WAPA estimates that the 2023 apple crop is expected to settle at just below 11 million t (about 4% lower than the original forecast).
In regard to pears, a further decline of the forecast in Italy, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands will lead to a lower crop, even lower than in 2021. The final pear crop is expected to be around 1.720.000 T, about 6% lower than the initial forecast.