A Severe spring frosts in northwest China’s provinces, along with declining exportable supplies to Europe and the United States, have led the USDA to predict a smaller apple harvest for the 2020/21 season.
In its annual global production forecast, the USDA announced that global apple production is expected to reach 75.9 million tonnes this season, which represents a reduction of 3.6 million tonnes from volumes for the year. last.
China’s production is estimated at 40.5 million tonnes (down 1.9 million tonnes), although higher volumes of lower quality fruit are expected, increasing shipments to Southeast Asia. East and thus bringing exports to 1.1 million tonnes.
The USDA predicts that imports to China will decline by 30,000 tonnes, for a total of 70,000 tonnes, largely due to logistical disruptions due to Covid-19.
Meanwhile, apple production across Europe is expected to increase by over 500,000 tonnes to 12.2 million, as the year-long increase in supplies in non-commercial orchards more than offsets losses in commercial orchards affected by weather conditions.
Exports are forecast to decline from 135,000 tonnes to 880,000 tonnes with fewer commercial supplies, while imports are also expected to decline to 460,000 tonnes, as reduced shipments from Eastern European suppliers more than offset the southern hemisphere supplies.
Turkey’s apple production is expected to increase by nearly 700,000 tonnes to 4.3 million tonnes, despite some hailstorms in Kayseri and the largest apple-producing province of Isparta.
Overall, good growing conditions and plantings of new varieties entering production are expected to generate a sixth consecutive year of growth. The increase in supplies is expected to boost exports by nearly 30% to 270,000 tonnes, particularly to Russia and India.
US apple production is forecast to drop from over 360,000 tonnes to 4.5 million tonnes as lower yields, wildfires and a windstorm reduced production in Washington and a severe frost reduced production in Michigan.
India’s apple production is forecast to contract slightly to 2.3 million tonnes due to lower production due to varying temperatures, low water supplies during flowering and hail during fruiting.
Quality was also affected by an apple scab outbreak in Himachal Pradesh, the second largest producing state. Imports are forecast to increase by 90,000 tonnes to 285,000 tonnes, mainly due to high shipments of competitively priced fruit from Iran.
Fruit from China has been banned since May 2017, and U.S. apple imports have fallen by nearly 50% following the imposition of a 20% retaliatory duty in June 2019.
However, the USDA reports that the number of countries supplying apples to India doubled from 14 to 28 between 2013/14 and 2018/19 and has remained above 20 since then, with Turkey and Afghanistan winning. market share since 2019/20.
Apple production in South Africa is forecast to increase for the third year in a row, reaching 966,000 tonnes, with production gains resulting from good weather and water supply only partially offset by hail damage in the Langkloof region. The growing area continues to expand with new crops in the Northern Province that include plantings of new “low-chill” varieties that thrive in warmer temperatures. Higher supplies are expected to bring exports to a record close to 530,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, New Zealand apple production is forecast to contract from 48,000 tonnes to 543,000 tonnes after last year’s record. Hail caused severe damage in the Nelson and Otago areas, cooler summer temperatures impacted fruit size, and a drastically reduced workforce resulted in fewer orchard pickings, all of this to bring production back to its lowest level since 2016/17.
As a result, exports are forecast to fall to 2016/17 levels, dropping from 56,000 tonnes to 345,000 tonnes.
Pear production follows suit
The USDA expects world pear production for 2020/21 to decline from 1.2 million tonnes to 22.1 million tonnes, due to weather issues in China, which are also expected to reduce trade.
China’s pear production is forecast to decline from 1.3 million tonnes to 16 million tonnes, as production in the main producing region of Hebei province was reduced following an April frost during the fruit development.
The drop in supplies is expected to reduce exports by nearly 25 percent to 470,000 tonnes. Imports are also forecast to contract to 10,000 tonnes due to reduced demand for Western-style pears after several years of modest improvements.
European production is expected to rebound from last year’s weather and pest losses, dropping from nearly 280,000 tonnes to 2.3 million tonnes.
Despite higher production, exports are forecast to decline to 270,000 tonnes due to hail and heavy rains in the Iberian Peninsula during the setting of flowers and fruit, reducing exportable supplies, particularly to Brazil.
Pear production in the United States is forecast to decrease from 37,000 tonnes to 608,000 tonnes due to lower production area and lower yield.
Planted area continues to decline in Argentina and, as a result, pear production is expected to decline slightly to 620,000 tonnes, ending several years of positive growth.
South African pear production is expected to remain stable at 410,000 tonnes under good growing conditions. The growing area continues to recover from pre-drought levels as growers scramble to replace old trees felled during the drought. Along with production, exports are expected to remain firm at 230,000 tonnes on stable supplies.
Meanwhile, in Russia, production is expected to drop from 43,000 tonnes to 247,000 tonnes, due to weather damage in commercial orchards and a dead year in non-commercial orchards as trees recover. the important harvest of last year. Disease risk and cold storage issues are prompting commercial growers to turn to apples, but non-commercial growers are showing greater interest in pears, attracted by their higher price.
Imports are expected to rebound from last year’s record low, dropping from 36,000 tonnes to 230,000 tonnes, confirming their status as the world’s largest importer. Increased shipments from Belarus and Turkey are expected to offset reduced shipments from southern hemisphere suppliers.