A USDA crop production report predicts U.S. apple shipments will be down 7 percent compared to last season.
The apple crop (both fresh and processed uses) should total 248.6 million 42-pound cartons, off from the 268.4 million cartons in the 2016 season. year ago.
On the up side, apple shipments from the Eastern state will increase. However, a significant decline in apple volume is predicted for the Central U.S. states, while a moderate decrease is seen in Western growing regions.
The Western states, led by Washington, are projected to total 170.4 million cartons, down 9 percent from a year ago, according to the estimates. The Washington apple harvest is running a few weeks later than 2016, according to the USDA, with good quality but slightly smaller fruit expected compared with the 2016 crop.
Washington state apple shipments are pegged at 159.5 million cartons, off 9 percent from the 2016 crop of 174.3 million cartons. The state is expected tol account for 64 percent of total U.S. apple shipments in 2017, down from 65 percnt in 2016.
In Eastern U.S. states, apple loadings are forecast at 55.7 million cartons, up 8 percent from 2016. New York, accounting for half of Eastern apple shipments, has a crop of 28.5 million cartons, up slightly from 28.1 million cartons a year ago. Growers and shippers there reported localized hail damage and noted rainfall and cool temperatures could affect fruit size, according to the report.
Apple shipments in the Central U.S. is forecast at 22.5 million cartons, down 27 percent from a year ago. A freeze in early May hurt Michigan crop prospects, according to the USDA. Michigan’s crop is projected at 19 million cartons, down more than 30 percent from 2016 output of nearly 28 million cartons.
In its Agricultural Prices report, the USDA said the average grower price for apples in June was 36.3 cents per pounds, down from 38 cents per pound in June last year.
The U.S. Apple Association will release its annual crop production estimate during the Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference Aug. 24-25 in Chicago