Michigan apple marketers moved record volume of fruit from mid-October through Christmas.
Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that Michigan apple shipments topped 300,000 cartons the weeks of Oct.22, 29 and Nov. 5, according to the release. A full comparison of shipment data compared with last season is available online.
"These record numbers come as no surprise after the Michigan apple industry reported an estimated record crop of 31 million bushels for 2016," Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, said in a news release. "These numbers illustrate not only that we have a large crop, but also that there is great retail and consumer demand for Michigan-grown apples."
The U.S. Apple Association said Jan. 1 inventories of Michigan apples topped 5.4 million cartons, accounting for about 5% of total U.S. fresh apples. Leading Michigan apple varieties in storage included red delicious (1.79 million cartons), gala (759,000 cartons) and golden delicious (662,000 cartons), according to the U.S. Apple storage report.
The average f.o.b. price for Michigan apples in the period from September 2016 to January this year was $23.76 per carton, according to the USDA. That is down slightly from an average of $24.48 per carton for the same period the previous season.
"With the adoption of high-density orchard plantings, more trees in the ground and new technology from the orchard to the packing line to the retailer, this is a trend that will continue," Smith said in the release.
"Michigan is poised to increase apple production into the future, and the Michigan Apple Committee is prepared to support that growth through retail programs, consumer education and research funding."
Michigan apple growers cultivate 11.3 million apple trees on orchards that occupy 35,500 acres. The state, ranking second in U.S. apple production this year, supplies apples to 27 states and 18 countries, according to the release.