Apple production could top quarter billion bushels

06/27/2013 04:26:00 PM
Andy Nelson

U.S. apple production should be up in 2013-14, thanks to big comebacks from hard-hit Michigan and New York, according to a recent estimate.

An estimated 251 million bushels of fresh-market and processed-market apples are expected to ship next season, up from 215 million bushels this season, according to the annual Fruit Crop Guesstimate from the Suttons Bay-based Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association.

About 67% of U.S. apples typically go to the fresh market, according to the Vienna, Va.-based U.S. Apple Association.

While production in industry leader Washington is expected to fall, from 154 million to 148 million bushels, big gains in Michigan and New York, which were devastated by freezes in the spring of 2012, should push the U.S. total up over last season.

An estimated 26.3 million bushels of apples could ship from Michigan in the 2013-14 season, up from 2.7 million bushels this season.

New York production is expected to jump from 16.9 million to 34 million bushels.

Pennsylvania’s apple volumes are projected to fall from 11.7 million to 10.5 million bushels.

The Guesstimate is the first of the season for overall national apple production in the U.S.; it will be followed by forecasts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Apple Association.

The 26.3 million bushel total in Michigan would be the largest since 2009, when about 27.4 million bushels shipped from the Wolverine State, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The Guesstimate could be on the conservative side, said Don Armock, president of Sparta, Mich.-based Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc.

“It will certainly be that, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s bigger than that,” Armock said June 26. “We continue to get great moisture. All box sizes are up by 10%.”

Another recent estimate, by Premier Apple Cooperative, put the 2013-14 crop at closer to 30 million bushels, said Armock, who added that the crop could wind up being the biggest on record.

The Guesstimate also predicted the size of the 2013 Michigan blueberry crop. About 104 million pounds could wind up being the end-of-season total, up from 87 million pounds last year and the biggest since 2010’s total of 107 million pounds.

North American growers are expected to produce about 380 million pounds of fresh-market blueberries in 2013, up from about 330 million pounds in 2012, according to the estimate.

Fresh blueberries are expected to make up about 55% of U.S. blueberry production in 2013.



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