Fruit farmers grow fewer varieties

The cultivation of apples in the Netherlands has shrunk drastically in recent years. The total area of apple trees has diminished by nearly a quarter since 1995 to 11,700 ha. Pears, on the other hand are gaining ground: the total area of pear trees was more than six thousand ha on 1 April 2001, up from 5,900 ha in 1995. Fruit growers are concentrating more and more on a few apple varieties and one pear variety.

Area of apple and pear trees (1995 = 100)

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In the period 1 April 2000 to 1 April 2001 a total 2,700 ha of apple trees were felled and 1,600 ha were planted. The main varieties of apple grown in the Netherlands are Elstar and Jonagold; these two account for nearly three-quarters of apple trees in the Netherlands. Other apple varieties are grown less and less often: the Rode van Boskoop is hardly planted any more, and relatively many Cox and Golden Delicious trees also been taken out of production.

Areas of apple and pear trees, Apr. 2000-Apr.2001

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Pear growers are increasingly focusing on one variety: the Conference. The area of Conference trees has been increasing for a number of years now, but many older trees are being replaced by young ones. In 1995 this variety accounted for half of total pear orchards, by 2001 this had risen to seventy percent.

Folkert van der Werf