Assessment of the production of Apples

Assessment of the production of Apples


Student Id



Assessment of the production of Apples

Brief Introduction

The global population is projected to increase exponentially and as a result the demand for food will also rise significantly. In order to meet future food demand, the production of food should be increasing at the same rate as population increase. However, even in the current situation, food shortage is becoming a perennial problem in various parts of the world. According to FAO (2019), various factors are linked to global food shortage, but the primary risk factors include natural disaster, war, and the increasing levels of poverty. Based on this understanding, and the need to achieve future sustainability in food production, it is imperative to focus on achieving food security. Among other crops, Apple production is significant in promoting food security. Although Apples farming can only be done in specific regions because climate requirements, smart farming would improve Apple production to meet the global demands.

Background Information

Apples originated from Central-Asia and with Afghanistan having many areas with native apples. According to rankings of apple producers, China is the leading producer followed by the United States (Futrell, 2017). Apples are known to contain vitamins and minerals essential for healthy lives. Research indicates that eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away by providing resistance to diseases such as Parkinson’s, cataracts, Alzheimer’s, gallstones and certain cancers (Hyson, 2011). Apples come in numerous varieties most of which require cross-pollination to produce quality fruits in sufficient quantities.

Where Grown and Production Scale

Apple is a temperate climate fruit native to many parts of Europe and Asia. Even so, it is also cultivated in other countries including the United States and other parts of the world. In fact, it is believed that Apple fruit were first cultivated in Central Asia before spreading to the various parts of the world (Fujita 2001. FAO estimates that Apple fruit is one of the most produced fruits globally.

According to USDA, China is the leading producer of apples producing with production concentrated in some regions of the country while the United States is the second-leading producer with nearly all the states producing the crop led by Washington state. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, apple production in 2017 dropped significantly as compared to previous years but steadied in 2018 (FAO, 2019).

Table 1: World leading apple producers. Source: FAO, 2019.

Figure 1: Apple production quantities between 1961 and 2014. Source: FAOSTAT 2019.

Since 2002, world apple production has significantly increased by over 29 percent.

Production Methods

Apple production scales vary from one region to another. The fruit is produced on both small-scale and large-scale. Apples often perform better in cool and humid conditions. Furthermore, it has been established that the fruit is not very sensitive to soils, thus it can be grown in a wide range of soils (Byrne, 2012). Like most fruits, preparation of the ground is key in farming of apple fruits. Thus, prior to planting apples, site preparation is necessary by cleaning and tilling. Even so, minimum tillage is preferred to minimize soil disturbance and removal of topsoil.

Apple fruits can be propagated using various techniques, but the main propagation methods include budding and grafting although seeds are also used in some cases (Byrne, 2012). Considering apple trees can grow into significantly taller and widely spread branches, spacing from one tree to another is an important aspect that ought to be taken into consideration. Planting distances vary depending on soil fertility levels. The crop is planted ensuring the availability of sufficient pollinators for effective pollination. Planting is either mechanical or manual depending on the scale of production and availability of appropriate technology.

Apples are particularly sensitive to low soil moisture. The fruit grows well in areas with sufficient rainfall well distributed throughout the year. Supplementary irrigation is required in case of dry spells during the critical periods such as during fruiting. Pruning is essential to promote plant vigor and productivity (Maqbool, 2019). By pruning, the flow of sap is diverted towards the fruiting branches allowing the plant to bear more fruits or stimulate vegetative growth. Thinning is also required to regulate fruit quality. Thinning can be done manually or chemically and it aims at increasing the growing space available for individual trees which results in improved fruit sizes of good quality.

Apples require manuring and fertilization to enhance yields. Farmyard manure is applied along with other commercial fertilizers. The rate of application is determined by the soil fertility levels. Common compound fertilizers applied to apple tree crops include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (Maqbool, 2019). Foliage sprays containing zinc, manganese, and calcium may be necessary for crops suffering from nutrient deficiency.

The crop is also prone to insect pest and disease attacks which results in reduced yields and fruit quality deterioration. Common pests reported include white scale, wooly apple aphid, and blossom thrips. In the event of pest attack, appropriate chemical applications are recommended in addition to suitable cultural operations such as crop rotations. The major diseases include collar rots, apple scab, sclerotium blight, crown gall, cankers, die-back diseases among others (Maqbool, 2019). To deal with the problem of disease, it is recommended to plant resistant cultivars. Infected plant parts are removed and destroyed to prevent further spread. In cases of serious infestation, commercial chemicals containing carbendazim, mancozeb as active ingredients are applied to control the diseases.

Depending on individual varieties and climatic conditions, apple fruits become ready for harvesting within 130-150 days after the full blossom stage. Apples are harvested by handpicking mature and ripe fruits. The fruits can also be harvested mechanically using machines (Maqbool, 2019). They are sorted to get rid of damaged or insect eroded. After harvesting they are then stored in a cold dry place preferably at a temperature range of between -1 to 4 degrees Celsius depending on the cultivar. They are stored in baskets or boxes lined with foil or plastic to help in retaining moisture. Apples should also be stored in a relative humidity of between 90-95 percent.

Apples are processed to produce a wide range of products although it is largely made into apple juice either independent or mixed with other fruits. The juice may be packed fresh or made into apple cider which is then fermented form of apple juice.

Apple fruits are used for human consumption for their rich nutritive content. They are rich in vitamin C, essential fibers, potassium and vitamin K and other essential nutrients including manganese, copper and vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6 which are necessary for human health (Kandasamy and Shanmugapriya, 2015).

Factors limiting apple crop yields

Apple productivity is adversely influenced by numerous cultural problems that are common to most other fruit crops. The limitations to optimal crop yields include both biotic and abiotic factors as well as varietal factors (Cornille et al 2019).

Some varieties perform better than others in different agro-ecological regions. Small-scale farmers, especially in the rural areas, are not privy to information regarding which varieties are suitable for which sites. As a result of planting the wrong varieties, yields are significantly hampered in terms of quality and quantity.

Biotic factors inhibiting apple fruit yields in the world include pests and diseases. Apples are susceptible to a wide variety of pest including white scale, wooly apple aphid, and blossom thrips (Maqbool, 2019). The crop is also prone to fungal diseases including collar rots, apple scab, sclerotium blight, crown gall, cankers, die-back diseases among others.

To control pests and disease occurrence on apples, it is essential to use pest and disease-free planting material. The seedlings and saplings planted should be healthy and with high vigor and the materials should be from certified sources.

In the event of an infestation, mechanical control by the use of strong water sprays or soap may be used (Gibalova et al 2011). Infected plants and crops are eliminated by burning to minimize the spread of pests and diseases. In case of a serious attack, the crop may be sprayed using suitable chemicals (pesticides and fungicides).

Abiotic factors limiting apple productivity include edaphic factors such as declining soil fertility, water stress, and poor harvesting techniques. The crop requires a sufficient supply of soil macronutrients and micronutrients for optimal growth v. Due to continued specialization, however, soils tend to lose the essential nutrients thus impacting crop yields. To ensure sustained productivity, farmers are advised to replenish soil nutrients by use of compound fertilizers and other cultural practices such as crop rotation and minimal soil disturbance. Apples are heavy water consumers. Nonetheless, stagnation of water around the tree stems may negatively impact crop yields. The lack of efficient harvesting, handling, and storage techniques also affects yields in terms of quality and quantity (Gibalova et al 2011).

Other factors contributing to low apple yields include incorrect intercropping management, use of inappropriate fertilizers, and unavailability of windbreaks which result in deformation of trees, and low pollination by bees which reduces fruit set.

Improving Production

Although apple is widely farmed and has gained popularity across the world over the years, the current global production does not meet the demand. Therefore, there is the need to increase production of the fruit to address growing demand (Basannagari & Kala, 2013. Perhaps, various approaches can be used to augment apple crop productivity. Some of the important approaches include integrated orchard management, cultivar management, and suitable manure and fertilizer applications, weed control and integrated pest and disease management (Pio et al 2019).

Approaches to improve crop resistance to pests and disease attacks include diversification of the genetic pool of the available cultivars. To promote diversification, different apple cultivars need to be planted on the same orchard to enhance cross-pollination. Apples have continued to undergo extensive research with the aim of finding superior varieties of the crop through the interspecific crossing, hybridization and gene sequencing (Cornille et al 2014).

Apples are also targets for genetic modification to increase crop yields by presenting superior resistance to pests, diseases and environmental stresses. There are many varieties of apples that have been genetically modified and are already in the market. Fertilization is needed in soils that are deficient in essential nutrients to improve yields (Jitariu et al 2019). Common nutrients required to increase yields include nitrogen, phosphorus, Sulphur, and copper all of which can be added through commercially available compound fertilizers. In addition, weed control is also required to minimize competition for available nutrients with weeds.


Basannagari, B., & Kala, C. P., 2013., Climate Change and Apple Farming in Indian Himalayas: A Study of Local Perceptions and Responses. PLoS ONE, 8(10), 1–7.

Byrne, D. H., 2012., Trends in fruit breeding. In Fruit breeding (pp. 3-36). Springer, Boston, MA.Cornille, A., Antolín, F., Garcia, E., Vernesi, C., Fietta, A., Brinkkemper, O., … & Roldán-Ruiz, I., 2019., A multifaceted overview of apple tree domestication. Trends in plant science.Cornille, A., Giraud, T., Smulders, M. J., Roldán-Ruiz, I., & Gladieux, P. (2014). The domestication and evolutionary ecology of apples. Trends in Genetics, 30(2), 57-65.

FAO., 2019., FAOSTAT Production Database. [2019-3-15]. http://

Fujita, M., 2001., Nature Farming Practices for Apple Production in Japan. Journal of Crop Production, 3(1), 119.Futrell, S., 2017., Good Apples: Behind Every Bite. University of Iowa Press.Gibalova, A., Vangdal, E., & Leufven, A., 2011., Factors affecting storability in apples. In IV International Conference Postharvest Unlimited 2011 945 (pp. 369-373).

Hyson, D. A., 2011., A comprehensive review of apples and apple components and their relationship to human health. Advances in nutrition, 2(5), 408-420.Jitariu, V., Vasiliniuc, I., Rusu, C., & Rosca, B., 2019., The Use of Sentinel 2 Images for Drought Phenomenon Monitoring in Apple Orchards. Proceedings of the International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM, 19(1), 671–678.

Kandasamy, P., & Shanmugapriya, C. (2015). Medicinal and Nutritional Characteristics of Fruits in Human Health. Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies, 4(4), 124-131.

Maqbool, S., 2019., Insect pest complex of apple nurseries in North Kashmir.

Pio, R., Souza, F. B. M. D., Kalcsits, L., Bisi, R. B., & Farias, D. D. H., 2019., Advances in the production of temperate fruits in the tropics. Acta Scientiarum. Agronomy, 41.