Harvesting Apricot Trees – Apricot Tree Yield and Storage

apricot tree harvest, yield and storage
Apricot tree

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Apricot Tree Yield

A healthy mature apricot tree may produce, on average, around 154 lbs or 70 kg of apricots. This means that the total yield of an apricot orchard may reach 13 to up to 25 tons of fruits per hectare (11598 to 22304 pounds per acre). Of course, this number may fluctuate a lot, and it highly depends on the cultivar, the age of the trees, the training system and the plant density, the availability of water and nutrients, the presence of pests and diseases, and the environmental conditions during the season. There are cases where farmers attain yields of 50 and 60 tons per hectare. 

Fardao, Spring Blush, Tsunami, Aurora, Wonder Cot, Rouge de Sernhac, Faralia, Nelson, Volšebnyj Vynoslivyj, Vynoslivyj, Beliana, and Feriana are considered varieties that can produce high yields. However, apricots start to produce sufficient yield only after the 3rd year of their lives and increase production periodically ever since. For example, during the third year, an average yield for 358 trees per hectare could be 3.7 tons per hectare (3306 pounds per acre). During the 4th year, they produce 7.4 tons per hectare (6613 pounds per acre); during the 5th year, 11.11 tons per hectare (9920 pounds per acre), while during the 6th year, yields are up to 23 tons per hectare (22304 pounds per acre).

When and How to harvest apricots

The right time for Apricot harvesting depends mainly on their variety and the end purpose of the product (cunning, dry fruits, fresh market). Most Apricots are ready for harvesting by the time they are firm, mature, rich in taste and aromas (sweet and juicy), and have reached the preferable size and color of their variety. Growers need to harvest apricots at the right time since the sugars and aromatic substances do not increase after the fruits have been removed/harvested from the tree. However, apricots should not be fully ripe and soft because they will be damaged while harvested and stored (very short shelf life). 

Depending on the variety, apricot growers start harvesting fruits from late spring to early autumn. To pick the fruits from the whole field, the grower may need to harvest on average 2-5 times per season. The workers should try to pick at the fruit not with their fingertips but with the whole palm (hand), twisting it a bit while pulling it gently, trying to avoid bruising them. In most countries, farmers harvest the Apricots that will be sold for raw consumption by hand so as not to injure the fruits and lose their commercial value. However, Apricots that are going to be sold for processing (canning) are harvested mechanically by large harvesters. 

Storage conditions for Apricots

Harvested Apricots are very sensitive fruits. They can be stored for up to 2 weeks at 0 °C (32 °F) and 90-95% relative humidity. The storing period could be a bit longer if the fruits have been harvested when they are not at their peak ripeness and cooled to 0-4 °C (32-40 °F) immediately after. It is essential not to store any diseased fruits and discard or keep fruits of lower quality separately. Apricots can be frizzed, canned (sliced or as a whole fruit), used for jams or juice production, dried, or sold as fresh fruits for raw consumption. 

References

https://coststudyfiles.ucdavis.edu/uploads/cs_public/bb/10/bb101479-e0b0-42e4-aeda-5e94ca48ce56/apricotsfreshsjv.pdf

https://www.agriculturejournals.cz/publicFiles/54975.PDF

https://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1011&context=agriculture

https://www.rhs.org.uk/fruit/apricots/grow-your-own

https://www.plantgrower.org/uploads/6/5/5/4/65545169/growing-plums-in-wi.pdf

https://www.foodbankcny.org/assets/Documents/Fruit-conversion-chart.pdf

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This post is also available in: Ελληνικά

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