posted on June 11, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Denise Donohue
(800) 456-2753 or (517) 282-5742
(DeWitt, Mich.) – Michigan is likely to have approximately three-quarters of an apple crop this year, according to a consensus of apple growers and shippers across the state. Some of the state’s apple orchards experienced loss brought on by the early onset of hot temperatures in April, followed by several nights in May with temperatures in the mid-20s in some areas across the state.
Damage appears to be scattered across the state, and depends on the type of land the apples were grown on (lower elevations being more frost-susceptible); the variety of apple; the stage of blossom or fruit development during the cold temperatures; whether the grower had frost protection available; the age of the tree and many other factors. Often growers have one farm that was significantly damaged by frost, and another farm that had so many apples thinning was required.
Michigan growers had a crop of near-record proportions last year, which was estimated by the USDA to be 28.6 million bushels. “Apples – which like to take a rest every other year – surprisingly came back this spring with a great return bloom, but we think some of them were prepared to be finicky,” said Denise Donohue, Executive Director of the Michigan Apple Committee. “In some cases, the cold nights proved too much and the trees dropped much of their load during the traditional ‘June drop.’”
Michigan has thousands of new trees coming into in their best bearing years, and because these trees were not overloaded last year they will certainly help nudge up production numbers this fall.
“The situation is still unfolding,” added Donohue. “As we move into June, there are losses in some regions, but we’ve also had some positive indicators in the last few days. Michigan will still have many millions of bushels of good-tasting apples to sell come mid-August.”
Some apple varieties are in outstanding shape, some growers are in outstanding shape – and some aren’t. Michigan Apple Committee, Michigan Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups are working with the governor’s office on disaster assistance. Local assessments are being made by the UDSA Farm Services Agency. The average-size Michigan apple harvest is 19.3 million bushels, which is a 5-year average assembled by the US Department of Agriculture.
MAC is a grower-funded, nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world.