Poland: Official study on changes taking place in apple growing sector
A comparison of the results of the orchard surveys of 2012 and 2017 shows significant differences in the age structure of trees and the density of plantings in apple plantations. Over five years, there has been a clear decline in the share of plantations that are 15 years and older and an increase in the acreage of apple orchards that are between 5 and 14 years old. However, there has been no increase in the share of the youngest apple orchards (up to 4 years old), reports the Central Statistical Office (GUS).
Also, less than 11% of farms have orchards with more than 5 hectares, even though they account for most of the acreage. Most farms with apple orchards had up to 1 hectare, and their total acreage accounted for only about 10% of the total area devoted to apple cultivation. In comparison with the results of previous studies, there has been a concentration of the apple acreage on large areas, as well as an increase in the average area devoted to apple cultivation, which in 2017 was 1.63 hectares (in the group of orchards equal or larger than 50 hectares, this average was 92 hectares), according to GUS data.
The varietal structure of the apple orchards is similar to the one from the previous study from 2012. Comparing the results from the years 1998, 2004, 2007, 2012 and 2017, it can be observed that over the last 20 years, some varieties have become very important (like the Jonagold, Szampion, Ligol, Golden Delicious and Gala), while others have lost ground (like the Jonathan, Cortland or Lobo).
Still, the most common variety in Poland is the Idared, whose share remains more or less stable at over 20%. The second place in terms of acreage was for varieties of the Jonagold group (including Jonagored and mutants), with 17.5%, and this percentage is constantly growing. The third place was for the Szampion (11.2%), followed by the Ligol, Golden Delicious, Gala and Gloster (7.0%, 5.1%, 5.0% and 4.8%, respectively).
The results of the study show that the cultivation of apple trees in orchards concentrates mainly in the Mazowieckie voivodship (45.6% of the total acreage devoted to apple growing in Poland). A high concentration of apple orchards was also recorded in the following provinces: Łódzkie (12.7%), Lubelskie (12.4%) and Świętokrzyskie (11.7%). In total, about 82.4% of the apple acreage in Poland was in one of these four provinces.