By DAN WHEAT
The national apple crop will be significantly larger this fall, according to the Michigan Frozen Food Packer Association's 58th annual Fruit Crop Guesstimate.
The crop looks to be 250.7 million bushels, or 40-pound boxes, up from 214 million in 2012, said Terry Morrison, the association's executive director, following the June 19 "guesstimate" in Grand Rapids. The five-year average is about 225 million.
The guess is based on conversations with processors and fresh packers in apple states.
New York and Michigan appear headed for larger than normal crops after wipe outs due to bud freeze last year while Washington, always the national leader, is coming off record volume to a lighter year, Morrison said.
"Growers in Michigan are all happier," he said.
Totaling fresh and processed, the Michigan guesstimate is 26.3 million boxes, up from 2.8 million last year and heavier than the 23 million average. The record was 27 million in 2009.
New York is 34 million, up from 16.9 million in 2012 and above a 25 million-box average.
Washington is 148 million, down from 159 million for 2012. That equates to a 118 million-box fresh crop, down from 129.4 million, if the same ratio of fresh versus processed holds.
Without hail damage, Washington's fresh crop would have been 140 million boxes in 2012, said Bruce Grim, executive director of the Washington State Horticultural Association in Wenatchee. That's full crop potential and growers are saying the crop looks to be 20 percent light at around 112 million boxes, he said.
Red and Golden Delicious and Fuji are "down considerably," he said.
New York's apples are usually a week to 10 days later than Washington so it may take some price pressure for New York to get some of its business back, Grim said.
Other main states in the guesstimate: Pennsylvania, 10.5 million boxes, down from a three-year average of 11.4 million; California, 8 million, up from a three-year average of 6.8 million; and Virginia, 6 million, up from a three-year average of 5.1 million.