Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Fruit production and viticulture: Farms and mechanization are growing worldwide

Larger production areas, distributed among increasingly fewer producers, with increasing mechanization: the results of the first international “agri benchmark Horticulture” conference on the production of apples and grapes.

The trends are the same, even in clearly different farm structures and production systems: that’s how the experts from seven countries attending the first conference of the agricultural economic network “agri benchmark Horticulture” held from Sept. 23 -27, 2013 at the Thünen Institute of Farm Economics in Braunschweig see it. The goal of the conference was to compare production structures and costs.

Apple harvest in a modern apple orchard in Grimma, Saxony. This orchard as well as viticulture farms in Rheinhessen were visited by the participants of the agri benchmark conference.

(c: Thünen Institute)

The basis for this are models of typical fruit and viticulture farms which were defined by crop experts and producers. The professionals provide information which full time farms with their production systems, practices and costs are typical for each production region.

At the moment the European farms are on average still significantly smaller than those in the southern hemisphere. In Italy – Europe’s second largest apple producer – a typical farm is just between 2.5 ha (in South Tirol/Trentino) and 5 ha (Emilia Romagna).

Germany has a broad range of typical farm sizes in the most important production regions, but there are farms on Lake Constance with 15 ha and on the lower Elbe in the Altes Land with 20 or rather 40 ha, in the Sachsen Elbe region with even about 150 ha, in which the future development becomes evident. In contrast in the South African Cape Region, farms with 80 to 120 ha of apple crops are typical, and in Chile the span is from 25 to 80 hectares. The situation in viticulture is similar.

Apples and grapes are labor intensive crops. A comparison of the production and cost structures shows: how the farms develop is largely related to whether laborers are available and what they cost. In Europe the mechanization is widely developed due to the high labor costs. But also in Chile and in South Africa interest is growing on labor saving technologies due to increasing salaries: alone last year the legal minimum wage in South Africa was raised by 50 percent.

In Chile fruit farms compete with the currently flourishing mining industry for laborers, so that seasonal workers earn about 30 % more than they did two years ago. The larger a farm is, the more strongly mechanization and rationalization pay off, thus further speeding the development. The structural transformation is thus comparably intensive in all production regions for both crops, with the trend progressing to increasingly larger farm structures.

A multiple-day excursion led, among other things, to Saxony to visit the largest German apple farm in Grimma and to the viticulture farms in Rheinhessen. The use of innovative technology to save labor was evaluated by participants with a look at the possible development in their own countries. “If the wages continue to increase this dramatically, our producers hardly have a choice but to invest in mechanization,” said Nando Baard from the South African fruit growers’ organization, Hortgro.

During a visit to a wine producer cooperative the conference participants could be convinced that in modern wine production cost savings with the use of technology and quality are not mutually exclusive. Prof. Hoffmann from Geisenheim University explained; “Through the use of modern technology in the cellars, the constant monitoring of the production process and the good coordination among the grape farms in the past years the quality of bulk wines has improved significantly.”

The network agri benchmark Horticulture is a new part of the established and successful network association agri benchmark, in which standardized methods are used for worldwide comparisons of production systems, their profitability, driving forces and perspectives. The results of the first conference show that also for fruit and viticulture annual analyses of the profitability are needed in order to understand the farm structures and competitiveness of different countries for apple and grape production.

Further information can be found under:

Dr. Michael Welling | Thünen-Institut
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>