Michigan expects near-record apple harvest in 2014
LANSING – Michigan’s apple growers will harvest approximately 28.74 million bushels of apples this year, according to the official crop estimate announced at the USApple Outlook meeting in Chicago.
This estimate is in line with the 2013 crop, which was a record size crop of 30 million bushels.
“Michigan’s growers, packers and shippers are ready to get their apples into the marketplace this fall. We are hearing from consumers that they can’t wait to crunch into their first Michigan apple of the season,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, who was in attendance at the USApple announcement in Chicago.
The predicted crop size would be one of the largest apple crops Michigan has seen. Last year, Michigan broke records with a 30 million bushel crop. Michigan is the second largest producer of apples in the United States, behind Washington.
“Many factors have contributed to this large crop,” said Smith. “Great weather this past spring and summer, including cool nights, plenty of rain as well as a good amount of sunshine certainly helped. Of course, the hard work of our apple industry always plays an important role.”
The estimate is showing what many in Michigan’s apple industry have been predicting for several years. The average Michigan apple crop size will continue to increase.
“With high-density plantings (approximately 1,000 trees per acre) and advancements in technology, Michigan is going to continue to produce a larger quantity of apples. We are also seeing great quality and size,” Smith said.
The USApple Outlook meeting’s estimate is the only official national crop estimate this year, as the federal sequester eliminated the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) estimate in 2013. The estimate will be important for Michigan as apples are one of the state’s largest and most valuable fruit crops.