Catalonian apple and pear forecasts

The Catalonian apple harvest has risen by 11%, whilst the pear harvest has dropped by 8%

In 2016, the apple harvest will rise to 308,720 tonnes, which means an increase of 11% compared to 2015. The harvest calendar will vary, depending on the regions, but in principle it is forecasted to be the same as 2015 or 2-3 days earlier, with the exception of some areas in Girona, where a slight delay may occur.

Normal sizes are expected and the production surface area has increased by around 2%. The producing region of Gerona will make up 27% of the overall kilos produced in Catalonia and 71% of the production will be concentrated in Lerida.

Specifically in Lerida, the production will be relatively higher, with a 13% increase. Flowering was normal to high and the setting was normal for varieties such as Gala, Fuji and Cripps Pink.

The hailstorms in May and June affected around 280 hectares, mainly damaging the quality of the fruit, which will mean a percentage of the production entering the storage rooms will be used for industrial purposes.

In Gerona, the increase in production is lower, with just 6% more. The flowering and setting were normal, except for Gala and Fuji, where the flowering and setting were better than normal. On the other hand, in the Cripps Pink group, the setting was normal to limited. For Golden, the most important variety, no signs of russeting have been observed.

Pears. On the other hand, the pear forecasts in Catalonia indicate a downward trend, mainly owing to limited flowering and to insufficient quality of most varieties. Following the general trend of the past few years, the production surface area has dropped slightly, by 1.7%, which means around 170 hectares.

The hailstorms in May and June affected around 280 hectares, with a degree of effect of between 20-30%, although this surpassed 50% in some regions.

According to data provided by Afrucat, over the past 20 years more than 50% of the production potential has been lost in the Western regions, owing to a combination of factors such as a lack of tools to fight pests, loss of aid and a drop in profitability of some varieties, particularly in Blanquilla and Williams. From the producing sector, a specific variety reconversion plan is being requested of the administration for pip fruit and particularly for the pear category. The aim is to make the developments profitable, increasing the number of trees per hectare in order to become competitive with countries such as Belgium and Holland, where on average, they obtain almost double the amount of kilos per hectare.

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