The mood of the 57th Annual Fruit Crop Guesstimate was glum this year.
“Growers won’t have any income and processors won’t either; it is going to be tough year,” said Terry Morrison, executive director of the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association, Suttons Bay.
Even with Michigan orchards stung hard by April cold and commercial volume of apples and tart cherries at a fraction of normal output, the association released its annual report in Grand Rapids, Mich., on June 6.
According to the association — which considers fresh as well as processed production — Michigan’s apple crop would only reach 2.88 million (42-pound) bushels this year, down from 26.2 million bushels in 2011.
Washington total apple output (fresh and processing) was estimated at a record 145 million bushes, compared with the five-year average of 128.5 million bushels.
Apple production in New York was forecast at 15.4 million bushels, off by half from the five-year average of 30.8 million bushels.
Pennsylvania fared better than other East and Midwest states, with 2012 output projected at 10.5 million bushels, off only slightly from the five-year average of 11.2 million bushels.
California production is expected at 7.8 million bushels, up from 7.2 million bushels in 2011. Industry leaders say the state has 500 acres of new orchards that will enter into commercial production in the next three years.
Virginia’s output was forecast at 4.2 million bushels, off from the five-year average of 5.2 million bushels, according to the association’s Guesstimate.
The total U.S. apple crop was forecast at 190 million bushels, off from the 224.5 million bushel five-year average.
Apple production in the province of Ontario was forecast at just 1.7 million bushels, down sharply from the 8.5-million-bushel crop of 2011.
Despite the April frosts, Michigan will still register an increase in blueberry production, according to the report. For 2012, Michigan blueberry volume is forecast at 81 million pounds, up from 71.3 million pounds in 2011.
Total North American blueberry output this year is projected at 836 million pounds, up from 773 million pounds last year and well higher than the five-year average of 662 million pounds.
Fresh sweet cherry output in Michigan was estimated at 1 million pounds, down from 4.4 million pounds last year.