Traditional Varieties Still the Focus of Pome Plantings

Moneymakers — that’s what traditional apple varieties such as ‘Fuji,’ ‘Gala,’ and ‘Honeycrisp’ are often referred to in the industry. If grown well, they can be extremely profitable for you. So it’s no surprise more than half — almost 57% — of apple growers responding to our 2017 State of the Industry (SOI) survey says most of their new planting plans would focus on these traditional varieties.pome-fruit-plantings-2017-state-of-the-industry

A Midwestern grower says newer strains of ‘Honeycrisp’ including ‘Premier Honeycrisp’ and ‘Firestorm Honeycrisp’ make up some of these traditional varieties being planted in his orchards.

Another grower from the Midwest, whose operation has been in business more than 100 years, says plantings will be a “mix of traditional, club, and new varieties.”

Organics, though, are on the rise. Growers say 16% of new plantings will be organic. In fact, a Northwestern grower with more than 500 acres says making the switch to organic production helped improve his bottom line in 2016.

Aside from boosting the bottom line, growers also want varieties that show some disease resistance, especially for fresh-market heirloom sales as well as for use in hard cider.

“Cull underperforming heirloom varieties many with fire-blighted shoots,” says a grower in the Northeast. This grower also is looking to varieties that are “disease resistant, [such as] ‘Liberty,’ ‘Jonafree,’ ‘Enterprise.’”

Another Northeast grower whose operation has been in business more than 100 years says heirloom varieties are the focus of his plantings.

“Local high-end processing,” he says is the destination for his apples.

Flavor, as a grower in the Midwest indicated, is also important.

A Midwestern grower and direct marketer in business for more than 25 years says he is planning to continue to convert his older blocks to high-density plantings.

“Planting newer, non-club varieties,” he says is also a focus, including “exciting new open release varieties like ‘KinderKrisp.’”

‘KinderKrisp,’ a ‘Honeycrisp’ cross that bears smaller apples, perfect for lunches, was also being planted by another Midwestern direct marketer and grower in operation for less than 25 years.

Pome Fruit Researchers, Advisors, Allied Respond
Growers are keenly aware of new technology becoming more available in the pome fruit industry. In fact, researchers are finding mechanical harvesters to be the topic of many questions from growers.

One crop advisor in the Southeast says growers are concerned about the “lack of serious research developing the needed equipment.”

A researcher in the West says growers are looking for “labor-saving devices.”

Overplanting is also on growers’ minds, as a member of an ally to the industry from the Northwest says. Growers are taking note as more trees are being planted.

“The seeming endless increase in apple plantings in Washington in particular; what will it mean for future profitability,” he says.

Growers, though, are capitalizing on the demand for great-tasting fresh apples, he says, by planting “more club/managed varieties; continued high density with orchard design conducive to maximum mechanization.”

A crop advisor in the Northwest says growers are looking to him to answer the question of “’What do I plant?’ The new club varieties of apples may be profitable or may fade quickly, big commitment.”

With more trees going in the ground, growers are still finding difficulty trying to locate rootstocks they want.

A crop consultant from the Northeast says growers are still challenged by the “availability of trees, new rootstocks, and varieties.”

Disease pressure is a challenge of pome fruit growers, says a crop consultant in the Northwest. Many growers are asking him for advice on how to tackle “bitter pit in apples.”

A researcher in the West says a big focus of his work is “Developing varieties that will improve the fruit industry, developing more farmer-friendly varieties that increase the farmers’ profits.”

He says flavor, shipping ability, and Brix are main targets to help deliver fruit that will increase profitability.

An advisor in the Northwest says growers are constantly asking him “How will you make me more profitable?”

He says, “Growers are focused more than ever on profitability, due to shrinking margins (because of rising input costs like water, labor, regulations, pest control, etc.).

He also says growers are “growing more with less” but when they do use products, organics, and improving the soil microbiology is a key part of using any inputs.

Pears Coming Into Focus
Along with apples, pears are also a focus for many pome fruit growers around the country. In fact, more than 54% of pome fruit growers who took our SOI said they grow pears, with nearly 5% planning to add pears in 2017.

In fact, respondents say pears are a big opportunity for growth within the tree fruit industry.

One industry partner in the Northwest says growers are asking him “Are there any new pear varieties coming out soon?”

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Apples & Pears Stories
Apple Grower of the Year
August 22, 2017
U.S. Apple Association Hosts Annual Apple Outlook Conference in Chicago
American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazine’s 2017 Apple Grower of the Year will be officially presented on Thursday, Aug. 24, during the first day of the conference. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 20, 2017
APHIS Seeks Comments on Risk Removal for Dormant Apple Cuttings
Dormant live cuttings from countries in the European Union must currently go through pest risk assessment. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 15, 2017
Wet Weather Breeds Phytophthora in Young Apple Plantings
Crown rot, root rot flourishing in very wet growing season. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 9, 2017
2017 Washington Apple Crop Down Slightly
Forecasted harvest predicted to be 131 million boxes, down 1.2% from 2016. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 5, 2017
Penn State University Develops Bitter Pit Prediction Model
Research team unlocks relationship between bitter pit, minerals, and shoot lengths. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 1, 2017
New York Growers’ Input Needed on Apple Tree Decline
Project has begun to identify rapid collapse and chronic decline being found in young Eastern apple orchards. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 25, 2017
Tips to Transition to an Apple Fruiting Wall System
Follow these suggestions to make the move from a 3-D spindle-shaped canopy to a 2-D system using mechanical pruning. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 30, 2017
Tackling the Challenges of Organic Apple Production Head-on
Researchers at Michigan State University test organic controls for fire blight. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 29, 2017
Integrating Control Methods to Tackle Fire Blight
Fire blight is a damaging disease, no matter the location. Most production areas of the Pacific Northwest and California experience Read More
Apples & Pears
June 28, 2017
Apple Tree Insurance Program Being Developed
U.S. Apple Association working with AgriLogic Consulting, LLC and USDA Risk Management Agency to offer new risk management option which takes into effect weather damage and fire blight loses. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 26, 2017
Cosmic Changes Coming in Apple Production [Opinion]
‘Cosmic Crisp’ is an apt moniker for Washington’s new apple, because the changes coming to the industry are immense Read More
Apples & Pears
June 23, 2017
Take Advantage of Technology to Help Manage Diseases, Pest Pressure
Expert farm advisers provide several options for apple orchard management decisions. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for National Pollinator Week
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 13, 2017
Two Bookkeepers and Family Charged With Stealing $1M from Zirkle Fruit
Payroll-scheme printed checks for phantom employees on payroll, but not working for the operation. Read More
The Latest
Apples & Pears
September 16, 2017
Researcher Finds Bacteria Can Stop Blue …
The natural bacterium found in soil can survive in cold storage; this promising biocontrol offers an alternative to chemical treatments. Read More
Apples & Pears
September 5, 2017
Pears Finding Home in Fermentation
Perry, a fermented beverage similar to hard apple cider, is gaining popularity in the U.S., and growers are learning about the production process from square one. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 26, 2017
‘EverCrisp’ Apple gets PLU Approval
Midwest Apple Improvement Association prepares for large harvest and larger distribution reach for first variety released. Read More
Apple Grower of the Year
August 22, 2017
U.S. Apple Association Hosts Annual Appl…
American Fruit Grower® and Western Fruit Grower® magazine’s 2017 Apple Grower of the Year will be officially presented on Thursday, Aug. 24, during the first day of the conference. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 20, 2017
APHIS Seeks Comments on Risk Removal for…
Dormant live cuttings from countries in the European Union must currently go through pest risk assessment. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 15, 2017
Wet Weather Breeds Phytophthora in Young…
Crown rot, root rot flourishing in very wet growing season. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 9, 2017
2017 Washington Apple Crop Down Slightly
Forecasted harvest predicted to be 131 million boxes, down 1.2% from 2016. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 5, 2017
Penn State University Develops Bitter Pi…
Research team unlocks relationship between bitter pit, minerals, and shoot lengths. Read More
Apples & Pears
August 1, 2017
New York Growers’ Input Needed on Apple …
Project has begun to identify rapid collapse and chronic decline being found in young Eastern apple orchards. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 25, 2017
Tips to Transition to an Apple Fruiting …
Follow these suggestions to make the move from a 3-D spindle-shaped canopy to a 2-D system using mechanical pruning. Read More
Apples & Pears
July 6, 2017
International Fruit Tree Association See…
Deadline for proposals is July 31. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 30, 2017
Tackling the Challenges of Organic Apple…
Researchers at Michigan State University test organic controls for fire blight. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 29, 2017
Integrating Control Methods to Tackle Fi…
Fire blight is a damaging disease, no matter the location. Most production areas of the Pacific Northwest and California experience Read More
Apples & Pears
June 28, 2017
Apple Tree Insurance Program Being Devel…
U.S. Apple Association working with AgriLogic Consulting, LLC and USDA Risk Management Agency to offer new risk management option which takes into effect weather damage and fire blight loses. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 26, 2017
Cosmic Changes Coming in Apple Productio…
‘Cosmic Crisp’ is an apt moniker for Washington’s new apple, because the changes coming to the industry are immense Read More
Apples & Pears
June 23, 2017
Take Advantage of Technology to Help Man…
Expert farm advisers provide several options for apple orchard management decisions. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 19, 2017
Bee-ware: New Resources Released for Nat…
New videos, webinars available during week-long observance. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 13, 2017
Two Bookkeepers and Family Charged With …
Payroll-scheme printed checks for phantom employees on payroll, but not working for the operation. Read More