The 2017 U.S. apple production is off 7% compared with a year ago, according to a crop production report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
 
The USDA said the apple crop (both fresh and processed uses) will total 248.6 million 42-pound cartons, down from 268.4 million cartons a year ago.
 
The estimate reports an increase in Eastern apple production, a sharp decline in Central U.S. states and a moderate decrease in Western growing regions.
 
The Western states, led by Washington, are projected to total 170.4 million cartons, down 9% from a year ago, according to the estimates. The Washington apple harvest is running a few weeks later than 2016, according to the USDA, with good quality but slightly smaller fruit expected compared with the 2016 crop.
 
Washington state production is pegged at 159.5 million cartons, off 9% from the 2016 crop of 174.3 million cartons. The state will account for 64% of total U.S. apple output in 2017, down from 65% in 2016.
 
In Eastern U.S. states, apple production is forecast at 55.7 million cartons, up 8% from 2016. New York, accounting for half of Eastern apple output, has a crop of 28.5 million cartons, up slightly from 28.1 million cartons a year ago. Growers there reported localized hail damage and said rainfall and cool temperatures could affect fruit size, according to the report.
 
Apple output in the Central U.S. is forecast at 22.5 million cartons, down 27% from a year ago. A cold snap in early May hurt Michigan crop prospects, according to the USDA. Michigan’s crop is projected at 19 million cartons, down more than 30% from 2016 output of nearly 28 million cartons.
 
In its Agricultural Prices report, the USDA said the average grower price for apples in June was 36.3 cents per pounds, down from 38 cents per pound in June last year.
The U.S. Apple Association will release its annual crop production estimate during the Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference Aug. 24-25 in Chicago