Managing apple growing in Michigan’s heat

From Fresh Plaza | 13 June 2023

Overview of apples from Michigan in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on June 12, 2023. 

More irrigation is on deck for Michigan apples right now given the heat the state is seeing. “Fruit is at a critical stage in its growth cycle. Cell division within the apple is taking place and it is critical that the tree has adequate water to support the crop,” says Casey Jarrard, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at BelleHarvest. “In addition to the water uptake, the fruitlets need nutrients. Growers are getting these nutrients into the tree right now with their rigorous irrigation cycles each week. Heat and water working together will produce a good quality piece of fruit this fall in Michigan and we are taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure a full harvest.”

For the 2023 apple crop, Jarrard says it’s projecting between 85-90 percent of harvest from last year. Last year of course Michigan produced a bumper 115 percent of a crop. From a state standpoint, the only carry-over of apples, aside from processing due to a poorer processing market, are some Fuji apples. Timing looks to be about two weeks ahead and harvest generally begins at the end of August with early product.

apple volumes by history 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Varietal notes

As for varieties, SweeTango, Honeycrisp and Gala apples will be up in volume as well as Fuji while Red apples will be down. “From a state standpoint, we feel like we’re in a pretty good spot as our grower partners are well-equipped to handle the weather ahead.”

A recent development for BelleHarvest will also help move apples this year–it recently acquired Valley View Company, LLC, which increased not only its acreage but its packing house operations and storage capacity.

As for apple demand right now, it is softer currently as it is historically at this time of year given summer fruit season has begun. Jarrard notes though that BelleHarvest is well underway in preparing for the increase in demand that the fall season brings via planning, securing partnerships and more.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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