U.S. Apple Association (USApple) announced this week that according to its industry survey, the total number of apples in storage on Nov. 1 was 179 million bushels, 11% more than last November’s total of 161 million bushels.
This year’s fresh apple holdings on Nov. 1, totaled 134.8 million 40-pound boxes/bushels, 14% more than the inventories reported one year ago, and 13% more than the five-year average of 119.0 million bushels.
Processing holdings totaled 44.3 million bushels, 3% more than a year ago, and also 3% more than the five-year average.
According to USApple, the November storage report reflects a distinct regional difference in the 2016 production environment. The Northeast in general, and New York in particular, was hit with cold weather at blossom time and a persistent drought during the growing season.
New York’s Nov. 1 inventories are 28% below the November inventories of last year. Appalachian and Southeast growers were also affected by the tough growing conditions, but to a lesser degree than New York.
In contrast, Michigan growers experienced more favorable growing conditions reflected by inventories that are 17% more than one year ago. Combined, East and Midwest Nov. 1 inventories are roughly 10% less than those at the same time last year.
Western growers generally experienced more favorable growing condition in the 2016 growing season. Nov. 1 Western state holdings, led by Washington State, were 17% higher than a year ago.
In fact, this week the Washington State Tree Fruit Association (WSTFA) revised its forecast for the 2016 Washington state fresh apple crop upward.
The August forecast estimated the Washington State apple harvest to be 132.9 million standard 40-pound boxes of fresh apples. After receiving updated data from WSTFA members who have picked a majority of the crop, that estimate was increased by 3.4%.
“Apple harvest is still ongoing for some Washington varieties, but based on volumes harvested so far our members are expecting an increase to 137.4 million boxes,” said Jon DeVaney, WSTFA President. “Since not all varieties have finished being picked, this estimated total may be revised in December. Our members are seeing a high-quality crop with good storage potential, meaning consumers can expect delicious Washington apples throughout 2017.”
The report is based on a survey of WSTFA members, and represents fruit picked through Oct. 31 and a best estimate of what is still too be harvested. It represents the harvested total volume of apples that will eventually be packed and sold on the fresh market, excluding product sent to processor.