Apples and pears shaping up to enjoy strong harvest

 
Orchard (Image: BBC) Last year's poor summer hit UK fruit growers, especially orchard owners, very hard

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UK fruit growers could enjoy a much improved harvest of apples and pears this year, after 2012's growing season saw a dismal outcome, experts believe.

Environmental consultancy ADAS UK says the recent cold weather, a key part of a successful fruit harvest, could see fruit-filled branches in the autumn.

Poor weather conditions during 2012 saw British fruit yields down by up to 50%.

However, the prolonged cold weather this year has not helped cereal growers, who face another tough year.

An assessment by ADAS suggested that the growing season was about eight weeks late, but the recent warming has seen it reduce this deficit to about three to four weeks.

"We are hopeful of a good harvest this year as long as this reasonable weather keeps up during flowering," said ADAS horticultural consultant Chris Creed.

The return of cold weather in some parts of the country, which have experienced ground frost, is not likely to jeopardise this, he said.

Crunch time

But he said that there would be concern if there was air frost (when the air temperature 1.25m above the ground fell to 0C (32F) or below).

"We don't want an air frost, and we certainly do not want it falling beneath -2C," he told BBC News.

"Kent, Worcestershire and Herefordshire are probably through this period now, so the crop should be set.

Hoverfly on a hawthorn flower Apple harvests are dependent on pollinators, such as hoverflies

"I would have thought they have got away with it because I do not remember hearing of any serious air frost in the past 14 days."

Apple trees are generally in blossom for about 14 days, during which time the flowers are pollinated - primarily by wild bees and hoverflies.

Most varieties will not produce any apples unless they are pollinated, and pollinated with pollen from a different variety of apple tree so it is important that the trees are in flower at the same time.

Mr Creed said that a bumper harvest depended on a number of natural milestones being achieved over the course of 12 months.

"We are looking for a good autumn that initiates plenty of flowers, so we want a sunny, dry autumn, and then we want a nice cold period during the winter," he said.

"We have had plenty of cold this season. Then we want a good fortnight [during the spring] with no air frost when the blossom is out, it's pretty simple really.

He added that conditions last year were "absolutely diabolical" while apple trees were in flower.

"And during the summer we would like some proper growing weather," Mr Creed said.

"Proper growing weather during May is some showers and warm nights, ideally double figure nights above 10C, and no drought during June, July and August."

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 80.

    Not sure I expect a good crop of apples this year. Last year there were loads and it seems (anecdotally) to be alternate years irrespective of weather except for late frosts killing the flowers.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 79.

    The farmers will still find some reason to put the price up, they always do.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 78.

    bumber fruit season - maybe but what of other crops which will bebadly affected by the dismal weather. we can't live on fruit alone. As their is less pollenators this could be a myth. so we have no fruit!!!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 77.

    Last year was dreadful for bees, so they will be starting from a low point. There may be a lot of blossom, but that's no use if there are no pollinators around.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 76.

    "Man dead in suspected Woolwich terror attack"

    Stunning topic BBC.
    75 comments in over 6 hours
    Obviously nothing happening today..

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 75.

    The apple blossom may be heavy this year, but where are the bees? I have only seen 3 bees and not one hoverfly yet. Not enough was done to protect the bee colonies when the alarms was first raised, and what is being done may be too late for this year.
    It is very sad.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 74.

    Here in Essex things are looking good for all kinds of fruit on my allotment the one thing I now hope for is warmth and Sun to ripen them. The changabel weather provers that a wide varity of typs of fruit is the best way of getting a fruit crop every year.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 73.

    I blame myself for the bad weather. About 5 years ago I left work to go to university. As I was graduating our son was born and I stayed home to look after him while his mum went back to work (she already had a job, I didn't). Both of these things mean I have much more "free" time than ever before.

    Collectively we've had about a weeks worth of warm weather since I stopped being tied to a desk!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 72.

    50.Praise Him
    This will no doubt result in an increase in cheap migrant labour this summer and no doubt my village will once again be flooded with a new crop of unshaven men who do not converse in English but simply point and nod in the shops whilst muttering alien words
    ---------------
    The up-to-date interpretation of "love thy neighbour", presumably!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 71.

    Excellent, so everyone will get enough fruit to eat ......

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 70.

    MR.TRUCULENT SAYS!
    WIVES TALES. Like lots of berries on a trees means a bad winter ahead. Not True, it means it has been a good spring for germination. It is like the fertiliser companies con farmers with the T-200. Add each days temp. not counting minus numbers, when you reach 200 degrees centigrade apply Fertiliser. Heavy rain & cold period may follow. Thus farmer has wasted £1000s.
    E&OE

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 69.

    "13.
    Imprison IR35 Cheats
    7 Hours ago

    The weather has been absolutely rubbish since the Tories got into power"

    Blame the liberals, It's their wet politics of allowing bad weather to have more rights than good weather even though good weather is by far the more popular with the electorate

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 68.

    This weather is driving me bananas does that count?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 67.

    This summer's going to be jam packed

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 66.

    I've had to sit down. I've NEVER in too many years EVER read a report that in terms said; Growers can look forward to a good crop this year as the weather has been favourable. It wont last; we shall soon be bombarded by forecasts of higher prices arising from a shortfall arising from the lack of Bees, Rain, Sun, Wind, as farmers & growers look to the consumer to cover their business risk.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 65.

    @44 Bee's are not effected by neonicotinoid's.

    Neonicotinoid's are designed to kill insects, and not only insects.
    As the name says, it's a nicotin-oid which are neurotransmitters.
    These are indiscriminate nervepoisons!
    Even in very tiny doses they disrupt the normal working of the nervous system of all living creatures.
    The use of natural enemies of pests should be used,not all these chemicals.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 64.

    There will only be a fruit boom if the pesticides are halted that our current dodgy government is opposing the EU pesticide ban to stop them! These pesticides are killing all our insects including the BEES!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 63.

    While it is excellent news that we should get a good apple crop this year, it is hardly an interesting subject for a 'have your say.'

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 62.

    Dear 36.mm

    Yes, I've seen that - Asparagus from Peru alongside British. Just don't buy foreign produce if British is available. Once the supermarkets have to throw the foreign stuff away they'll get the message. Oh, & I try only to buy what's in season wherever possible. It generally tastes better.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 61.

    @29.paulmerhaba
    "I tried growing apples on my xbox and got sued."

    That's just bananas.

 

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