US (WA): Apple production down from initial estimates

Temperature fluctuations throughout the year have contributed to a Washington apple crop that will likely net less fruit than was initially anticipated. While most varieties suffered from diminished output, Granny Smith apples actually increased in volume over last year's numbers.

“We started out with a strong estimate, but due to certain weather conditions, this turned out to be a short crop,” said Howard Nager, vice president of marketing for Domex Superfresh Growers in Yakima, Washington. Estimates at the beginning of the season put this year's crop near 120 million boxes, but Nager noted that estimates last month put volume closer to 113 million boxes, and the dip has cut across almost all varieties.

“We've seen decreases in just about every variety except Granny Smith, which has seen a 15 percent increase over last year,” said Nager. That also extends to organic varieties, which suffered similar dips. Nager pointed to temperature fluctuations throughout the season as the likely reason for less volume this season. Cool weather greeted the start of this year's harvest, and alternating warm then cool weather in August and September affected this year's fruit.

“It wasn't one weather event, like a big storm or hail that did it,” said Nager. But he pointed to larger fruit this year as a bright spot this season, and there are opportunities for retailers to push some varieties.

“There are good promotional opportunities on larger-sized fruit, which translates to good pricing for consumers,” said Nager. “What we need to do now is move the crop in a consistent manner.”

For more information:
Howard Nager
Domex Superfresh Growers
+1 509 966 1814

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