Big Apple Crop Expected

Apple-Crop-Outlook-EastThe mood was decidedly upbeat at this year’s USApple national get-together, which is held each August in Chicago. Big crops — 2014 is expected to be the third largest in history according to the USDA — don’t scare industry players as they did in the bad old days, not when the quality of the crop across the country is generally considered to be excellent.

While the USDA Aug. 12 estimate is 259.2 million bushels, up 8% from 2013, the USApple estimate is even higher at 263.8 42-pound bushels/boxes. USApple’s 2014 production forecast is a 10% bigger crop than 2013 and 17% bigger than the 5-year average. (See charts for complete USApple forecasts.) USApple’s forecast has been more accurate in three of the past four years the USDA has issued a forecast. It was unable to do so last year because of the federal government shutdown.

“We’re seeing an increase in per capita consumption which is important with this year’s crop and in years to come,” says Mark Seetin, director, regulatory and industry affairs, U.S. Apple Association.

What’s truly amazing about this year’s crop, said Seetin, is that all that production is being achieved on a lot less land. Per acre yield has increased an astounding 31% over last decade.

In fact, U.S bearing acreage peaked at a high of 468,000 acres of apples in 1995, Seetin said. However, “only” 252 million bushels were produced that year, he noted. This year’s total of 259 million bushels (per USDA) will be produced on just 328,000 acres.

Apple Crop Outlook WESTWest Dominates
Washington continues to be the nation’s powerhouse, making the West dominant. Indeed, while the East and Midwest combined will actually be down 1%, the West should be up 13%, according to the USDA. Overall, the East and Midwest should combine to produce one-third of the nation’s crop, while the West should produce the remaining two-thirds.

Besides the increase in per-acre yield, another bright spot, Seetin noted, is that there has been an increase in per capita consumption. That’s important not only for this year’s crop, but for the big crops expected in the years to come.

One other factor that has cropped up recently is the Russian embargo on imports of U.S. products, Seetin said. However, he doesn’t anticipate a big impact, as Russia accounted for just 1.4% of U.S. apple exports last year.

Apple Crop Outlook MidwestThe forecast of the U.S. apple crop was just one of many presentations at the two-day conference. Here’s a brief look at the remainder.

European Crop
Philippe Binard of the World Apple and Pear Association said the European crop is expected to be 11.9 million tons, the biggest in history, with Poland, Italy, and Hungary having big years. As for varieties, Cripp’s Pink, Gala and Fuji are hot; Spartan, Cortland and Cox Orange are not. Golden Delicious continues to be the most popular variety by a huge margin.

Unlike in the U.S., the Russian ban of Western imports is a big deal, Binard said. It’s especially troubling for Poland, which is expecting its biggest crop in history, 12% larger than the previous record high established last year. Russia represented 35% of European export volume last year.

Chinese Crop
The Russian situation has been the hot topic of conversation among Chinese growers, said Michael Choi, of Zhonglu America Corp. If Russia continues its ban on Western apples, China might be its only source.

“Every year China sets a production record,” Choi says.

This year it’s expected to hit 40.8 million metric tons, up 3% over 2013. However, 40.8 million metric tons would be up 14% over the five-year average.

Canadian crop
Canada’s 2014 apple crop is expected to come in at 21.6 million bushels, up 9.5% over its 5-year average, said Don Werden of the Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association, Simcoe, Ontario. It is expected to have its biggest apple harvest since 2007. Overall, it’s a clean, quality crop that is sizing up well.

As for varieties, McIntosh, at 31%, or 6.1 million bushels, continues to dominate. Gala, at 9.2% or 2.3 million bushels, is second, and rounding out the top three is Empire, at 6.2%, or 1.6 million bushels.

Mexican crop
The Mexican apple crop will be nowhere close to the huge crop of 2013, said Leighton Romney of Paquimé, Mexico. That crop, 24 million boxes, meant there was not enough bins, CA storage or, believe it or not, labor. This year’s crop, which should come in at 16 million boxes, is a more normal size.

“This should be a good year for U.S. apple exports to Mexico,” says Romney.

Most of the sales of fresh fruit are moving through the supermarket chains. This is a trend that continues to replace the old terminal market and street sales system that has predominated in Mexico. The supermarket chains continue to grow as new stores are opening monthly.

Conference Gets Interactive
Capturing the flavor of the U.S. Apple Association Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference were the editor of American/Western Fruit Grower, David Eddy, and Richard Jones, group editor. In case you missed out, here’s some of the highlights from their Twitter feeds:

@Richard_AVG_AFG: Robert Brackett, Institute for Food Safety & Health: Food Safety Modernization Act emphasizes partnerships btwn regulators and ag. #usapple

@Richard_AVG_AFG: Brackett: Goal of FSMA is increased emphasis on preventive vs. regulatory compliance. #usapple

@Dave_WFG_AVG: David Schmidt, food info expert: 1/4 of Americans negative on GMOs, but 1/4 positive. And 40% of millennials are positive.

@Dave_WFG_AVG: USApple Chairman Chris Britton: Let’s not give up on immigration reform. Call or write your Congressional rep. Get involved!

@Dave_WFG_AVG: Britton: USApple is about so much more than crisis communication. (Think Alar). If apple growers are to have a voice, they must speak as one.

@Richard_AVG_AFG: Gary Baise, OFW Law, on the Clean Water Act: EPA is seeking to stifle and control your production techniques.

@Richard_AVG_AFG: Baise: If the water running off your orchard can contaminate traditional navigable waters, EPA says it can regulate your production.

@Dave_WFG_AVG: Consumer expert Sherry Frey: Produce beverage sales are up, up, up. All fresh fruit and vegetable convenience products are hot.

@Dave_WFG_AVG: Food as medicine is huge. Not just weight management, fiber, heart health. Not all good news for growers. Protein is fastest growing.

@Dave_WFG_AVG: Frey: Hispanic buying power is surging all over the country. Growers should know what Apple varieties they prefer, such as Red Delicious.

@Dave_WFG_AVG: 75% of USA-born Hispanics are under the age of 35. And they care about health. Young Latinas are big in social media, and are early adopters.

For more from the conference check out David Eddy and Richard Jones’ Twitter feeds at @Dave_WFG_AVG and @Richard_AVG_AFG.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Apples & Pears Stories
The giant Honeycrisp apples at Burnham Orchards sell quickly
Apples & Pears
December 2, 2016
New Director Of Consumer Health And Media Relations Appointed At USApple
Organization announces Korenna Wilson to take on the role of raising consumers’ awareness of apples benefits. Read More
Jim Allen
Apples & Pears
November 28, 2016
Jim Allen Set To Retire — Adios, Mr. Big Apple
Jim Allen is stepping down at the end of the month as the longtime chief of the New York Apple Association. Read More
CA storage
Apples & Pears
November 15, 2016
Researcher Gets To Bottom Of Fungus In Fruit Storage
Team aims to develop tools to predict, detect microbes in stored apples and pears. Read More
Prepping apples for cleaning, waxing, and sorting.
Apples & Pears
November 10, 2016
U.S. Apples In Storage Up 11% Over A Year Ago
Meanwhile, the nation’s dominant producer, Washington, revised its crop estimate upward. Read More
EverCrisp apples
Apples & Pears
November 2, 2016
Video Highlights The Apple Breeding Process
Educational video illustrates how and why new varieties are developed. Read More
The Apple Store in Green Bay, WI. (Photo credit: WBNQ)
Apples & Pears
November 2, 2016
Market In Wisconsin Gets Confused For iPhone Dealer
The Apple Store in Green Bay, WI, fields calls about technical support or new releases. Read More
Sleeping-eye trees, pictured three weeks after they have 
budded out at UMass Extension Greenhouse in Amherst, MA. (Photo Credit: Jon Clements)
Apples & Pears
November 2, 2016
Consider Alternatives To Finished Apple Trees From The Nursery
While tree availability has been a challenge, you may find other options give you a similar result. Read More
The Latest
Apple Grower of the Year
December 6, 2016
2014 Apple Grower Of The Year Bill Evans…
Legendary apple grower Bill Evans, who along with his wife, Jeannette, farmed more apple acreage than any grower in the Read More
Apples & Pears
December 4, 2016
Easy Tips For Apple Pruning Demonstratio…
Seminar to be presented in both English and Spanish by Penn State University Extension experts. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 3, 2016
It’s A Global Celebration For World Pear…
USA Pears to host sampling events in 24 countries for 24 hours of continuous pear goodness. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 2, 2016
New Director Of Consumer Health And Med…
Organization announces Korenna Wilson to take on the role of raising consumers’ awareness of apples benefits. Read More
Apples & Pears
November 28, 2016
Jim Allen Set To Retire — Adios, Mr. Big…
Jim Allen is stepping down at the end of the month as the longtime chief of the New York Apple Association. Read More
Apples & Pears
November 15, 2016
Researcher Gets To Bottom Of Fungus In F…
Team aims to develop tools to predict, detect microbes in stored apples and pears. Read More
Apples & Pears
November 10, 2016
U.S. Apples In Storage Up 11% Over A Yea…
Meanwhile, the nation’s dominant producer, Washington, revised its crop estimate upward. Read More
Apples & Pears
November 2, 2016
Video Highlights The Apple Breeding Proc…
Educational video illustrates how and why new varieties are developed. Read More
Apples & Pears
November 2, 2016
Market In Wisconsin Gets Confused For iP…
The Apple Store in Green Bay, WI, fields calls about technical support or new releases. Read More
Apples & Pears
November 2, 2016
Consider Alternatives To Finished Apple …
While tree availability has been a challenge, you may find other options give you a similar result. Read More
Apples & Pears
October 30, 2016
New Project Targets BMSB – Sustain…
Armed with a $3.7 million grant, North Carolina State University researchers have the brown marmorated stink bug, which has been found in 43 states, in their cross hairs. Read More
Apples & Pears
October 27, 2016
Let’s Not Lose Sight Of The Classic Appl…
Consumers may want the latest and greatest varieties, but don’t forget there are some consumers – like me – who enjoy traditional varieties you may be considering ripping out. Read More
Apples & Pears
October 11, 2016
Growers Report Bitter Rot On Apples
Wet fall weather has washed off plant protection materials, leaving fruit susceptible. Read More
Apples & Pears
October 10, 2016
Outlook Is Positive For Several Specialt…
The Northwest Farm Credit Services has released its quarterly Market Snapshot publications that look at the state of major agricultural commodities in the Northwest, including apples, cherries, onions, pears, and potatoes. Read More
Apples & Pears
October 4, 2016
Timely Tasks To Do During Down Times Of …
Amy Irish-Brown of Michigan State University Extension offers helpful tips for growers to help prioritize any lulls in harvest season. Read More
Apples & Pears
September 26, 2016
New Apple Variety Is One Stemilt Hopes C…
University of Minnesota apple variety will be grown and packed exclusively by Stemilt. Read More
Apples & Pears
September 23, 2016
USDA Approves Nonregulated Status For ‘A…
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announces deregulation of third non-browning apple released from Canadian company. Read More
Apples & Pears
September 23, 2016
Growers Encouraged To Monitor Fruit Temp…
With early harvests, Randy Beaudry of Michigan State University says temperature monitoring is a must. Read More