Being competitive is a goal all over in the EU. Competition is free and getting closer among the competitors of the apple industry. In Hungary, one of the most important issues of apple industry has been what are the prospects for aged plantations, which account for 50% of crop land. Based on our results, 80% of those apple plantations on the d...own-grade yielding apple, the ones only for processing, do not meet the criteria of competitive production. For those plantations in better shape that yield 30-40 t/ha, of which at least 20-30% are for fresh production, it can he profitable. Because of the future trend in technology and economy, however, even the latter ones can not be considered being competitive in the long run.
The profitability of the Hungarian apple production considering firms producing on high standard is not lagged behind significantly from that of German firms, moreover in certain cases it reflects a more positive situation. It is unfavourable, however, that this statement is true only for 8 to 10% of our whole apple plantation surface. The resu...lts of the investigations highlighted the fact that in comparison with Germany our farm business advantages manifest in three factors: in 70 to 80% lower wages, in 15 to 30% higher investment and subsidy intensity and in the fact that at present we cannot neglect the ice safety system which is rather expensive. By the increasing wages, the narrowing subsidy opportunities and incidentally the appearing harmful weather phenomenon, these advantages may be continuously ceased. Our definite disadvantage appears in the level of marketing price, considering the fact that producers in Hungary realize 30 to 35% lower marketing price, which is in connection with the probably much lower level of organization among farmers, in the market and in the logistical background.
In this study I investigated the cost and profit conditions and the efficiency of intensive, qualitative apple production on the basis of a data collection carried out in ventures of high standard production. I concluded that the intensive apple production has an extremely high cost requirement, the production costs are approximately 1500 to 16...00 thousand HUF per hectare. In an average case, a production value of 2000 thousand HUF per hectare may be reached, which may fluctuate in a wide interval during the years. Considering the above mentioned, a net profit of 400 to 500 thousand HUF may be realized in one hectare. It should be highlighted that regarding the present marketing conditions, realizing the appropriate profit may be expected only by producing 30 to 40 tons per hectare yields and 80 to 90% food quality ratio.
The up to date intense apple growing in Hungary is capable to produce yearly about 500-1000 thousand Ft/ha income, which means that the investment of 4 000–5 000 thousand Ft is returned by producing 10-20% net income. The economic balance may, however, be upset by the damage caused by hail, quantitative and qualitative, with an apparently inc...reasing frequency experienced in each third or fourth year. Estimates prove that each hail causing 50% damage may reduces the income proportionately to the capital by 1.5–2.0 percent points, which means a serious threat for the economy of apple production. According to calculations, a plantation producing 30–40 t/ha yields would not be able to raise incomes compensating the investment of 7.0–10.0 million Ft/ha, let alone the frequencies of hail damages. Consequently, 50–60 t/ha yields are needed to become successful, and in planning of new plantations those high yields are aimed with hail nets. An additional difficulty is represented by a lack of financial resources to install hail protection nets.
Today, successful fruit growing depends largely on the security of production. Among the technological elements of a secure growing system, the use of hail protection nets serves special attention. Components of security are the regularity, conspicuous large yields with excellent quality, which determine the prices and profitability as well (Sz...abó et al., 2010). In the European Union, most of the apple growing countries produce higher yields by 10-20% than Hungary. The conditions of better yields are partly due to a more favourable ecological milieu, partly to more developed technologies and serious discipline of the operations. Our own competitiveness could be developed first of all in those moments. As a consequence of global climatic changes, excesses of weather, i.e. hail-storms became more frequent. Different methods of protection against hail are developed abroad but also in Hungary. The examination of effects of the hail protection nets compared with the check without nets has been the purpose of our experiments. The growing system was the intensive one with high planting densities. Fruits of the two subsequent years have been compared as grown with and without hail protective nets. It turned out that in one season when shoot growth was stimulated, the shadowing effect of the net increased in addition the growth and at the same time braked the differentiation of flower buds, which exerted negative effects on yield of the next year. Let alone this phenomenon, the quality of fruits was not influenced by the hail protection net.
For fruits, establishing intensive apple-orchards requires the highest amount of investment cost, while the returns depend on many factors. Based on farm and bibliography data we appraised an investment in a model in some variations that are the most used in practice (100% owner's capital and 55% owner's capital +45%o subsidies). The profitabil...ity of the investment has been analysed using the methods of NPV (Net Present Value) and DPP (Dynamic Payback Period). The essence of our analysis is a sensitivity analysis with the optimistic, pessimistic and realistic combinations of the yield and the market price. Plantation establishment financed by only own (corporate's) sources turns into profitable over 7-10 years in average and favourable cases, but the opposite is the case in unfavourable circumstances. By subsidy of 45% for investments, it is highly possible to return by the fifth or sixth year after the year of establishment, but it can return by the twelfth year even in unfavourable case.