Dresden. After the Elstar apple variety, the Gala presentation of the Saxon fruit growers will follow in the coming week. Because with Elstar and Gala - the two main varieties in the Free State - the harvest is now in full swing. Udo Jentzsch, Managing Director of the state association Saxon fruit, is optimistic. "We expect good qualities this year. The wetness has not harmed the apples in any way, the rain has rather helped," he told the German Press Agency. Also with the fruit sizes one can be satisfied.
At the beginning of the apple harvest, the fruit growers' association had expected around 52,000 tons. Now Jentzsch hopes that it will be somewhat more. Nevertheless, the smallest harvest in the last 25 years is forecast. According to Jentzsch, this is mainly due to the spring frost at the beginning of April and unfavorable flowering weather. At that time, the trees had not yet blossomed and buds had frozen. The hanging on the trees in the previous year also played a role.
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The trees of the Jonagold and Pinova varieties in particular would have borne a lot of fruit in 2022. Thus, the yield would be lower this time due to alternation - the fluctuation of fruit yield in a two-year rhythm.
Harvest about 20 percent below the previous year's figure
Overall, the Saxon apple harvest is expected to be 20 percent below the previous year's figure. Since each Saxon eats an average of 22 kilograms of apples a year, with a population of around four million, 88,000 tons of apples from the region's own harvest are theoretically needed. According to forecasts, however, Saxony's fruit growers will only be able to guarantee just under 60 percent of their own supply this year. In Germany the figure is around 55 percent. That's why we're looking at other European countries. And there, a good harvest is predicted overall, especially in Italy, France and Spain.
Saxony is very pleased with the forecast for pears - more than 3,000 tons. This is because the pear harvest across Europe will be rather meager in 2023 due to failures in southern Europe. Saxon fruit growers therefore expect good sales and producer prices well above those of the previous year. Jentzsch also expects a good yield of plums - more than 1,000 tons.
Nevertheless, fruit growers are concerned about rising production costs, especially for inputs and fertilizers, but also energy for storage as well as labor costs, also due to the minimum wage for seasonal workers, the association said. Alongside the availability of effective crop protection products, especially for insecticides, is the desire to reduce bureaucracy, it said. (dpa)