The drought was mainly an issue in the northern part of the continent, with several countries modifying their initial figures.
The original forecast was for 12.6 million MT of apples and 2.3 million MT of pears, the latter of which remains unchanged.
“The 2018 EU crop is dominated by the ongoing growth of among other Polish production and the return of the Central European Member States to a normal crop after last years’ frost,” WAPA said.
“However, other leading Member States such as France, Italy and Germany are reporting a moderate crop. A more definite forecast with follow end of November, when harvesting season is all but finished.”
Germany experienced higher temperatures than normal, with a continuous period of drought, which has impacted the apple crop. The crop forecast from August decreased by 6% to 934,000MT, with some regions more affected than the others.
Only Northern Germany had enough water in the orchards by means of sprinkling, whilst the other regions were too dry.
The Czech Republic indicated a decrease of 15% compared with their initial forecast to 128,000MT for apple, and a decrease of over 25% compared to July to 8,000MT for pear.
The harvest has been affected by the continuous drought since April and high temperatures, which led to small sizes and an increased number of fruits destined for processing: up to 65% for apple and 33% for pear.
France has also modified its initial forecast slightly downwards from 1,502,000MT to 1,477,000MT for apple and from 135,000 to 134,000MT for pear.
Italy confirms the forecast made at the beginning of August. In general, the quality, sizing, and colouring are good, under influence of good weather conditions during harvest. Certain regions were hit by hail, which could lead to a higher quantity of fruits going to processing.
Belgium had already modified its forecast downwards before the publication of the Prognos report in the beginning of August, taking the drought into account.
The Netherlands had a high initial forecast and planned to revise its figures downwards. However, precipitation during the harvest led to a crop of good quality and quantity. Figures will most likely be kept of even revised upwards.
Poland indicated that the yield for apple might be even higher than the initial forecast, which could even out the slightly lower figures from the other contributors as indicated above. However, a bigger proportion of Polish apples would go to the processing industry. Overall, the final volume harvested could also be influenced by shortage of workforce and storage
In the meantime, US Apple Outlook has forecasted the figure of 4.880.000 tonnes for apple, which is slightly down from the initial forecast of 4.914.000 tonnes. The Canadian forecast is set at 341.249 tonnes.