Frost has detrimental effect on fruit crops

19/04/2006 14:00

Sharp frost in early March 2005 caused apple and pear crops to be smaller than in 2004. Frost damage to apple and pear blossoms reduced the volume of apples and pears in the province of Flevoland by half. Apple and pear crops in the province of North Holland and the four provinces in the northern part of the Netherlands also suffered frost damage. The apple and pear crops in the remaining provinces were almost equal to 2004.

Production of apples and pears

Production of apples and pears

Smaller apple and pear crops

In 2005, Dutch fruit growers picked 359 million kg of apples and 195 million kg of pears. Compared to bumper crop year 2004, apple and pear crops were reduced by 18 and 7 percent respectively. In 2005, the apple orchard area covered 9.7 thousand ha, a 5 percent reduction compared to the previous year. The area covered by pear orchards rose by 3 percent to 6.7 thousand ha in 2005.

Average apple and pear crops, 1993–2005

Average apple and pear crops, 1993–2005

Variety differences

The crop, expressed in kg per ha, is affected by meteorological conditions as well as the variety. One hectare of the Jonagold variety yields approximately 30 percent more than one hectare of Cox’s Orange Pippin and the Conference crop per hectare is about 20 percent higher than in the case of the Doyenné du Comice variety. The crop per hectare of organically grown apples and pears is about 40 percent below that of a common crop.

Apple varieties

Apple varieties

Other varieties

The assortment of apples and pears grown in the Netherlands is gradually changing. Over the past 25 years, the share of the Conference variety in Dutch pear growing has risen from 32 to 70 percent. The apple varieties Jonagold and Elstar, which were non-existent before 1980, became increasingly popular and together accounted for a share of 76 percent in 2005. Orchards where old varieties, like James Grieve, Lombarts Calville and Winston were grown, have all but disappeared. Recently developed varieties like Junami, Kanzi and Rubens are expected to capture a large chunk of the current market.

Pear varieties

Pear varieties

Arthur Denneman