China, South Africa and US expected to offset lower production in the EU and Turkey
A new report from the USDA has forecast world apple production will increase slightly in 2023/24, rising 175,000 tonnes to 83.1m tonnes.
According to the report, this increase in the 2023/24 marketing year (12 months to 30 June 2024 for the Northern Hemisphere and 31 December 2024 for the Southern Hemisphere) is due to recovering supplies in China, South Africa, and the US offsetting losses in the EU and Turkey.
Although China has experienced frost and temperature-related losses in Shandong and Gansu provinces, higher output in Shanxi, Henan, Hebei, and Liaoning is expected to offset this and overall production is set to increase by 500,000 tonnes to 45m.
South Africa production is also anticipated to rise this season to 1.2 m tonnes based on good growing conditions and new supply from plantings coming into full production.
Additionally, Washington State supply in the US is set to recover following last season’s weather damage and boost US production up 56,000 tonnes to 4.4m.
India production is expected to remain at 2.4m tonnes based on unchanged planted area and favourable weather conditions. Production in Chile is expected to lower slightly to 907,000 tonnes as its “planted area continues its long, downward trend” the report said. Meanwhile, New Zealand production is anticipated to rebound slightly by 20,000 tonnes to 463,000, as orchards continue to recover from Cyclone Gabrielle.
In contrast, EU production is expected to decline by 475,000 tonnes to 12.2m due to higher‐than‐normal fruit drop and cold temperatures. However, quality is expected to be good with output in France and Spain improving on recovery from last year’s prolonged high temperatures.
Turkish production is also forecast down for the first time since the 2014/15 season to 4.9 m tonnes. The decline is said to be due to low moisture during bloom and unseasonal rains during fruit maturation.
With the overall increase to production, exports are also estimated to rise. The USDA report said world apple exports are anticipated to increase 632,000 tonnes to 6.1m tonnes primarily on higher shipments from the US, Iran, and China.