Posts Tagged “frost”

Spring Frost will Mean Fewer Apple Shipments from Michigan This Season

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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.

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Eastern Apple Shipments will be down This Season

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There will be fewer apples for hauling in two of four of the leading eastern states this fall.  New York got hit the hardest by frost related weather earlier this year, but there also will be fewer loads available for produce haulers in North Carolina.  Pennsylvania and Virginia will be up in volume only slightly.

New York state’s Western and Central apple shipping areas were hit the hardest, with less frost damage occuring in the eastern part of the state, home of the Hudson Valley.  Still, New York’s volume will be down 52 percent from last apple season ( 590 million pounds compared to 1.2 billion pound a year ago). 

In Pennsylvania, apples are forecast to be at 481 million pounds.  It shipped 458 million pounds last year. 

North Carolina took a beating.  This year it expects to load 40 million pounds of apples compared to 140 million pounds in 2011.

The leading apple shipper in the mid-west, Michigan will ship 85 percent fewer apples this season.

Ironically, Washington state, which normally ships about half of the nation’s apples every year, is expected to account for 77 percent of the nation’s apple loads for 2012-13.  This is despite suffering some hail damage.  The state was on track for historic volume, until the fowl weather hit.  Still, Washington state is expected to have its second largest amount of apple shipments on record.

One difference produce haulers can expect out of the Northwest this season is for Washington shippers to be packing more apples than normal in the smaller, consumer bags.  This is because Michigan normally is heavy with bagged apples, and Washington packers will be looking to help fill this void.

Produce truckers should always watch what is being loaded, not only for proper count, but for quality and appearance of the product being loaded.  This is especially true if you are hauling apples from most shipping areas this season.  Expect shippers to be loading some fruit with pits or hail damage marks on it.  Just make sure whom you are hauling for is aware of this situation to help reduce changes of claims or rejected loads.   Also, be sure and note it on the bill of lading.

Washington state apples grossing – about $5600 to New York City.

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