USApple Outlook: Exports Down; Crop Up

It’s no secret that the U.S. Apple Association’s (USApple) crop estimate, configured at the Crop and Outlook Marketing Conference in Chicago, is a point of pride for Mark Seetin, Director, Regulatory and Industry Affairs.


Seetin says USApple has been closer than USDA to the final production total in seven of the last 10 years.

So, Seetin took great pride in recently announcing the prediction for the 2019-20 year at 247,764 42-pound units. It’s up 1% on 2018 and down 1% on the five-year average.

According to an Aug. 12 estimate by USDA, 253.1 million bushels for the 2019 apple crop would be the ninth largest since the government department began reporting apple production in the 1940s, reinforcing the need for access to top apple markets.

Seetin also announced at the organization’s annual Crop and Outlook Marketing Conference that apple exports for the 2018 crop were down 27% from the previous year. The value of apple exports fell by 22%, from $1.1 billion in 2017 to $854 million for the 2018 crop.

“With exports and income down significantly, and a large harvest already beginning, these numbers express the dire need to resolve the trade conflicts as soon as possible,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair. “There is not a day to delay.”

The industry continued the trend to adapt to consumer preferences by increasing production of ‘Gala’ and ‘Honeycrisp,’ which is expected to overtake production of ‘Granny Smith’ with the 2019 crop. If the current trend continues into 2020, said Seetin, ‘Honeycrisp’ could even move ahead of ‘Fuji’ to third place in overall production.

The 2019 top five produced apple varieties, based upon the USDA Aug. 1 estimate, are 1) ‘Gala’ 2) ‘Red Delicious’ 3) ‘Fuji’ 4) ‘Honeycrisp,’ and 5) ‘Granny Smith.’