Spring Frost will Mean Fewer Apple Shipments from Michigan This Season

Spring Frost will Mean Fewer Apple Shipments from Michigan This Season

DSCN9658A visit by “Jack Frost” last spring suckered punch Michigan apple growers and the result will be fewer loading opportunities in the new season set to start soon.

Michigan apple shipments for the upcoming season have taken a significant hit due to a frost last May.  It is expected to result in nearly 30 percent fewer truck loads from the from 2016 17-shipping season.

While the official USDA forecast will come out August 10th, the industry’s Premier 2017 Apple Production Estimate pegs the Michigan crop at 20 million (42-pound) cartons, off 29 percent from a year ago and 8 percent less than the five-year average.

Among the biggest losers from the spring cold were jonagolds and McIntosh, which suffered significant frost damage on May 8.  Having much better luck were galas, Honeycrisp and fuji apples.

Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc. of Sparta, MI is among the state’s largest apple shippers.  The company expects about three-quarters of a full crop.

Initially, the USDA estimates 27.98 million cartons of fresh and processed fruit for Michigan apples.

Total fresh Michigan apple shipments through early July were nearly 9 million cartons, with most of the fresh apples from the old  shipped by mid-July.

First harvest of paulareds and gingergold apples is expected around the third week of August.

U.S. Apple Shipments

The USDA in its June forecast — the final one for the 2016-17 — the agency raised its 2016 estimate for Washington apple shipments by 8 percent compared with the August 2016 estimate.  The USDA also raised its estimate for 2016 U.S. apple production from 248 million (42-pound) cartons in August 2016 to its final estimate of 268 million cartons.

The Premier estimate shows the 2017 U.S. apple crop at 255.57 million cartons, which is down 5 percent from the final USDA estimate for the 2016 crop of 268.4 million cartons.

The 2017 Premier production estimate for Washington state calls for production of 165 million cartons in 2017, down 5.3 percent from 174.3 million cartons produced in 2016 but 9 percent higher than the five-year average. About 80 percent of Washington apples are shipped fresh.