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Austria: Vegetable harvest 2018 was significantly weaker

This year's harvest of field and horticultural vegetables has come to a total of 562,700 tons. This is a decline of 6 percent compared to the previous year, or a decrease of 8 percent compared to the five-year average, reported Statistics Austria last Tuesday. The weather was ideal neither in spring nor over the summer. This led to damage from the hot and dry conditions during the year.

Onion production, which accounted for just under a quarter of total vegetable production, was well below the previous year's level at 132,200 tonnes due to the drought, but also due to a decline in acreage (-9%), and it was even lower than the five-year average (minus 20%). The amount of carrots, at 93,800 tons, also remained below the 2017 level (minus 4%).

The fruit yield amounted to 161,100 tons. This put it slightly above the previous year's result, through a rising acreage (plus 2 percent by 2017). Here, the long and hot summer had a positive effect on the cultures, where the water supply was sufficient.

In relation to the five-year average, a plus of 6 percent was recorded. Tomatoes achieved a significant year-on-year increase in crop production and produced 58,200 tons (+7 percent on 2017). More than 80 percent of the amount were vine tomatoes.

The production of cucumbers declined by 7 percent year-on-year to 44,900 tons. According to Statistics Austria, this was due on the one hand to an area reduction for the Upper Austrian cucumbers. On the other hand, in the case of cucumbers in protected cultivation, the poor growth conditions in the spring and summer heat had a negative impact on the yield.

Peppers also had corresponding yield losses limiting production to a below-average 15,400 tons (down 4% from the five-year average, up 1% year-on-year). Over 97 percent already came from cultivation under glass and foil.

Cabbage, leaf and stem vegetables reached a historic low despite an increased acreage. At 121,300 tons (minus 16 percent on the five-year average), production remained well below average, well below the previous year's level (minus 10 percent).

Especially regarding lettuce, which accounted for almost a third of this product group, heat damage in outdoor cultivation had a negative impact on the yields. Only 39,500 tons were harvested (minus 16 percent on 2017). In the end, more spinach (plus 13 percent to 12,900 tons) and more asparagus (plus 1 percent to 3,100 tons) was harvested.

Regarding celery, production was also below average due to illness-related crop failures; 10,300 tons. It was almost a quarter below the level of the previous year (minus 23 percent on 2017).

Green peas recorded similarly poor yields as in 2016 due to the heat, reaching a production volume of only 9,800 tons (down 21 percent on 2017). Green beans, on the other hand, increased by 6 per cent to 6,400 tons (plus 7 per cent in acreage), an increase over the previous year (plus 4 percent).

For horseradish the acreage declined slightly, which reduced the production volumes accordingly, to 4,400 tons (minus 5 percent on 2017). Garlic reached a yield of 1,100 tons (plus 3 percent) on a slightly larger cultivated area.


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