Thursday, August 13, 2009
Bumper apple crop in the making: Growers anticipating high yields, good quality
Cool temperatures and heavy summer rains have apple growers in Michigan anticipating one of the state’s best apple crops in over a decade.
On average, Michigan produces about 20 million bushels of apples, according to the USDA. This year’s projection is estimated to be 25 to 27 million bushels.
According to Michigan Apple Committee Executive Director Denise Donohue, the weather has been close to ideal with plentiful precipitation in most areas and a near absence of severe storms. Most trees are also carrying heavy loads of apples so yield will be high.
The 2009 anticipated bountiful harvest is especially good news having come off a year when apple production was down about 30 percent from average. Despite overall cooperation from Mother Nature this growing season, several growers in the state suffered a setback this past weekend when a storm with high winds and heavy rains hit isolated pockets of apple growing regions near Sparta and Kent City.
“It is extremely unfortunate for growers any time there is damage to the apples, especially the trees,” said Donohue. “Some orchards and individual blocks of apples on the Fruit Ridge were devastated and suffered major damage.”
Even so, Donohue added that statewide the outlook is very promising and Michigan remains on track for a bumper crop. MAC estimates that about 5 - 8 percent of the crop was lost due to the storms.
Harvest has already commenced in Southern Michigan with the picking of Paula Reds and Ginger Golds. The state produces over 20 different varieties of apples for the commercial market.
Michigan is the third-largest apple producing state in the nation.
The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded, nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.