The nation’s apple crop this year is expected to be down 14%, the U.S. Apple Association announced Friday at its annual meeting in Chicago.
The forecast, 235 million bushels, is not only off from last year’s 272 million bushels, but fewer than the 242 million forecast by USDA just one week ago.
Mark Seetin, USApple’s director of regulatory and industry affairs and acknowledged “data guru,” noted that increases in modern times were not due so much to growers planting increased acreage.
“The bins per acre since 1987 has gone from 550 to 850,” he said. “The production increase is astounding.”
Most of the U.S. production comes from the West, which USApple expects will be 152 million boxes, down 18% from 2014 and 3% from the 5-year average.
Washington, the single producing state, is expected at 143 million, down 18% from 2014, and 2% from the 5-year average.
The East is expected at 54 million bushels, down 6% from last year, and 1% from the 5-year average.
New York, the nation’s second largest producer, is expected to hit 26 million bushels, down 15% from the previous year and 7% from the 5-year average.
The Midwest is forecast at 29 million, down 1% from 2014 and a full 20% off the 5-year average. The Midwest’s 5-year average was skewed a couple years ago by early warm weather and then a late freeze which hammered the crop.