October 21st is a special day in our calendar, reserved for one of the most important fruit crops- apple. Apples are listed as the third crop in global fruit production, just behind bananas and watermelons. Moreover, global apple production accounts for more than 84 million tonnes. Although they originate from Central Asia, today apples are grown in almost every part of the world.
Why Are Apples so Attractive to Farmers?
Known for its varietal diversity and nutritional value, apples are a very popular crop among farmers, as well as consumers. They can be grown for fresh consumption or processed for juice, cider, vinegar, jam, and many other products. Average apple yield varies depending on the production purpose, varietal characteristics and growing conditions. However, optimal apple production is around 50 000 kg/ha (20 tonnes per acre).
All apple farmers share the same ambition; to achieve high yield, grow healthy and nutritious apples, and sell them as soon as possible for a good price. Just like the other permanent crops, apples are a long-term investment. One more advantage of growing apples is that they are very adaptable to various growing conditions, and therefore, can be grown almost anywhere. Besides that, the demand for apples is constantly present throughout the year.
Tempting Business with Many Risks
Although apple production is a tempting business, it's dependant upon many factors and it has its own risks. Top five risks in apple production that constantly threaten farmer's pursuit for success are as follows:
1. Climate change; unpredictable weather events such as drought, hail, frost, flood, strong wind or even hurricane are a sorrow reality of today's farming. In just one day, unfavorable weather conditions can turn a beautiful apple orchard into a wasteland
2. Insect pests and diseases; there are over a 100 apple insect pests and diseases that constantly threaten apple yield and quality. Yield losses due to various pests and diseases may reach up to 40%
3. Postharvest management; a very delicate stage in apple production that directly affects the final yield, as well as farmer's profitability
4. Unpredictable market prices; due to global market supply and demand
5. A new era of farming requires additional investments; in order to be successful, apple production requires certain investments. On one hand, investing into any business is always risky. But, on the other hand, investment in proper technology, a capable worker or farm equipment can bring about some significant and positive changes, particularly for farmers who follow good farm practices in their crop management.
Let’s Focus on The Better Side of Apple Production
Apple farming is not for everyone. It takes a lot of knowledge, patience and hard work to achieve profitable and sustainable apple production. However, when managed properly, apple production can be a safe and long-term farm investment. Despite all challenges that are in front of apple farmers, modern farm technology is developing unique solutions oriented towards improvements in apple production.
Miraculous farm inventions such as precision farming based on real-time data, improved farm machinery, as well as farm management software, can mitigate all aforementioned problems and bring valuable yield results.
Happy International Apple Day!