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Record year for Dutch apple and pear harvest

With 418 and 336 million kg respectively, last year was a bumper year for Dutch apples and pears according to Statistics Netherlands. The apple harvest per capita exceeded 25 kilogrammes (kg). The apple harvest per hectare (ha) of 51 tons was historically high in 2011.

The cultivation of fruit is becoming more and more innovative and professionalised. As a result, productivity improves. Fruit growers opt for new highly productive varieties, which can be stored more easily. The plant density also improves and growers invest in drip irrigation systems and cold store facilities. The innovation process in fruit growing has resulted in a distinct increase in the production per ha. Currently, the pear and apple production per ha is about 4 and 5 times as high respectively as in 1947.

Netherlands Europe’s fourth pear grower
The Netherlands is the fourth largest producer of pears in Europe after Italy, Spain and Belgium. The pear harvest has broken the 300 million kg barrier for the first time in 2011. The pear-growing area in the Netherlands has shrunk from 14.5 thousand ha in 1952 to 5 thousand ha in 1989. Subsequently, the pear-growing area was steadily expanded to 8.2 thousand ha in 2011, almost the same as the apple-growing area (8.3 thousand ha). With 73 percent, the Conference is the most popular pear variety, followed by the Doyenné du Comice with 12 percent.

The apple-growing area has declined substantially for decades and, in 2011, covered less than 20 percent of the area in 1952. The favourable weather conditions in the spring of 2011 resulted in a bumper apple crop of 418 million kg, i.e. 51 tons per ha, the highest production per ha ever. With a share of 41 percent, the Elstar variety remains most popular among apple growers. The shares of new varieties like Junami, Kanzi and Rubens in the total apple-growing area rose to 13 percent in 2011.