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Michigan apple grower estimates up to 10% increase in costs

An apple grower says inflation has made this year’s crop more expensive and consumers will likely pay more at retail.

“Costs keep going up, probably going to be five to ten percent higher this year.”

Michigan fruit ridge grower Phil Schwallier told up to a third of the cost is labor as apples need to be handpicked while pesticides and machinery are other large expenses.

“Between 14 and 20 cents per pound is what it costs growers to grow apples in Michigan,” he says.

Ultimately, he says Mother Nature is in charge with a recent hailstorm hitting his trees and pocketbook.

“I would have gotten $50,000 for fresh apples, I’ll now get about $5,000 for juice apples,” he explains.

The retired Michigan State University Extension educator has been analyzing the cost of production of apples since the early 1970s.  

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