Agricultural: Probably the smallest strawberry harvest in 25 years

The business with domestic strawberries continues to be difficult.

Agricultural: Probably the smallest strawberry harvest in 25 years

The business with domestic strawberries continues to be difficult. The harvest volume is showing another minus this year after the relatively poor result of 2022, as the Federal Statistical Office announced on Thursday. A drop of 14 percent to 84,700 tons is therefore to be expected - that would be the smallest outdoor quantity for 25 years. The 2023 seasonal balance for asparagus is also likely to be disappointing. In the case of cereals, however, surprisingly good results for winter barley ensure a good start to the harvest in many places, according to information from the industry.

One reason for the decline in German strawberries is that the area under cultivation was reduced by seven percent to 9,200 hectares compared to the previous year. This is also the smallest open-air area since 1998, the Federal Office announced. "The reduction in the relatively cost-intensive domestic strawberry production can be attributed, among other things, to increased production costs and the general price trend with falling demand for these precious fruits," it said with a view to the high inflation.

Delay due to cool spring

In addition, the strawberry harvest started later than usual this time because of the rather cool spring. Overall, according to the estimates, the result is clearly below average: In the years from 2017 to 2022, the average harvest amounted to 110,400 tons - 23 percent more than the expected harvest in 2023. Regionally, the largest harvest of open-field strawberries is expected in Lower Saxony with 22,800 tons. North Rhine-Westphalia follows with 19,100 tons and Baden-Württemberg with 13,000 tons.

With regard to the grain harvest, which has meanwhile started, the German Farmers' Association reported a positive start for winter barley. After persistent drought in many places in spring and early summer, this was not necessarily to be expected. The harvest volume is likely to be 9.5 million tons, higher than in 2022 with 8.7 million tons. Only a few areas of the other types of grain have been harvested so far. The results suggested that winter wheat and winter oilseed rape suffered more from drought than barley.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, this year's harvest of asparagus is estimated at 105,700 tons - that would be four percent less than in 2022 and the lowest amount since 2013. The area under cultivation was reduced by four percent compared to the previous year to 20,500 hectares. The statisticians explained that this could also be due to falling demand. Regionally, the most asparagus was cut in Lower Saxony with 23,200 tons, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia with 20,200 tons and Brandenburg with 18,100 tons.

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