Polish apple producers expect to see a record harvest in 2018/19 of around 4 million tons, representing a 43% increase from 2017/18 (2.8 million tons). Accordingly, fresh-apple exports are set to increase significantly, due to increased availability and good dessert-fruit quality.
Poland’s apple area decreased in 2017/18, mostly due to tree maturation and some older orchards being taken out of production. Some Polish apple growers converted orchard area into other, more profitable types of production following a long period of low apple prices. In 2018/19, Poland’s apple production area is estimated at 176,000 ha.
The 2017/18 winter was mild and most apple-growing regions saw no winterkill. Some orchards experienced minor damage on very young trees during a cold snap in late February and early March 2018. Higher-than-average temperatures in April shortened the flowering period and accelerated fruit development by two weeks. Flowering was abundant on mature trees, but budding was more moderate, as pollinators were not able to keep pace with the trees. Dry conditions during the spring moderated flowering on young trees. Occurrences of disease and pests were significantly reduced in 2018/19, although a few orchards reported the occurrence of powdery mildew. Although in mid-August hail severely damaged the dessert-apple crop in some isolated areas of central Poland, these episodes are unlikely to affect Poland’s total apple crop. One potential blot on this rosy picture however is that low market prices for processing apples coupled with labour shortages may prevent some farmers from harvesting all of their fruit this year. Champion and Idared continue to be the most-cultivated Polish apple varieties. The most popular dessert varieties are Jonagold, Ligol, Gloster, and Cortland. According to industry sources, Red Delicious, Gala, Jonaprince, and Red Chief are popular for new plantings. Attempts at growing Elstar were not successful due to climactic conditions.