Statistics Netherlands announced today that a bumper harvest of nearly 350 million kg of pears was produced in 2014. The pear harvest was almost as big as the apple harvest.
Last year, 349 million kg of pears were picked, a 7 percent increase relative to 2013 and the biggest harvest ever. The main reasons for the increase are expansion of the pear orchard area and the higher yield per hectare. With 353 million kg, the apple harvest was only marginally bigger.
Pear-growing area expands more rapidly than apple-growing area
The total area covered with apple and pear orchard has been stable in recent years around 16.5 thousand ha versus 23 thousand ha in 1980. The apple-growing area has been reduced by half from 17.2 thousand ha in 1980 to 7.8 thousand ha in 2014. The pear-growing area has increased from 5.7 thousand to 8.6 thousand ha over the same period.
Higher yield per pear tree
The yield of apple and pear trees was reduced during the period of severe cold early 2012. The apple yield per ha increased from 35 tons in 2012 to 45 tons in 2014. With 41 tons, the pear yield per ha was marginally lower last year although much higher than the 24 tons per ha in 2012. In 2014, more than 60 percent of pears were exported, versus only 20 percent of apples.
Where in the Netherlands are the apple and pear-growing areas?
The apple-growing area is declining, but is still concentrated in the traditional areas in the province of Zeeland, the river area in the province of Gelderland, the IJsselmeer polders and the province of Limburg. More than in the 1980s, the pear-growing area is predominantly found along the large rivers, in the Betuwe region, in Zeeland and in the province of Flevoland.