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US expects average apple harvest but strong foreign demand

U.S. apple growers won’t see a record crop this season, though tough weather conditions for domestic and foreign competitors in other markets could produce strong demand for U.S. apple exports in the year ahead.

Growers in the European Union expected to harvest their smallest crop since 2007 due to severe spring freezes. Rain, heat and hail posed problems for growers in Mexico, where there is growing demand but also increasing concern about the U.S. political climate.

U.S. apple growers predicted a harvest of more than 248.2 million 42-pound bushels, both fresh and processed, in the 2017-18 crop year.

That’s down 8 percent from last year’s crop but in line with early U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts and consistent with the five-year average, according to the latest USApple estimate, released at the USApple Outlook conference in Chicago in August.

As always, much of the U.S. production is in Washington, at 159.5 million bushels. (Note, this is in 42-pound bushels. Washington tracks its crop in 40-pound boxes and only counts those destined for the fresh market.)

For the entire West, including California, Oregon and Idaho, the total was nearly 170 million bushels.

In the Midwest, a late freeze hit some growers in Michigan, who anticipated a 27 percent decline in production this season to just 20.3 million bushels. Overall, growers in the Midwest forecast nearly 23.8 million bushels, down 23 percent.

Publication date: 10/12/2017


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