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Apple harvest in Saxony slowly running at full speed

Apples of the Santana variety at a fruit farm. / Photo: Sebastian Willnow/dpa
Apples of the Santana variety at a fruit farm. / Photo: Sebastian Willnow/dpa

The plum harvest is coming to an end these days, and apart from apples and pears, all other types of fruit have been harvested in Saxony. But the apple harvest is slowly getting into full swing this week.

After the apple variety Elstar follows the Gala presentation of the Saxon fruit growers in the coming week. For Elstar and Gala - the two main varieties in the Free State - the harvest is now in full swing. Udo Jentzsch, managing director of the Saxon Fruit Association, 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-growing association had expected about 52,000 tons. Now Jentzsch hopes that it becomes nevertheless somewhat more. Nevertheless, the smallest harvest of 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. The trees of the Jonagold and Pinova varieties in particular had 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.

In total, the Saxon apple harvest is expected to be 20 percent below the value of the previous year. Since each Saxon eats an average of 22 kilograms of apples a year, with a population of around four million, a theoretical 88,000 tons of apples from the state's own harvest will be 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 is why we are looking to other European countries. And there a good harvest is predicted overall, especially in Italy, France and Spain.

With the forecast for pears - more than 3000 tons - one is very satisfied in Saxony. Because throughout Europe, the pear harvest is rather meager due to failures in southern Europe in 2023. Therefore, Saxon fruit growers expect good sales and producer prices well above those of the previous year. Also with the plums Jentzsch assumes a good yield - more than 1000 tons.

Sorgen bereiten the fruit farmers nevertheless rising production costs, above all with operating and fertilizers, in addition, energy for storage as well as wage costs, also by the minimum wage for the seasonal forces, it was said by the federation. Alongside the availability of effective crop protection products, especially insecticides, was the desire to reduce bureaucracy,

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