Washington apple volume predicted to be up this season
by Lora Abcarian | September 14, 2010
Jon DeVaney, executive director of the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers
Association, said that apple volume for the state of Washington for the 2010-
11 crop will be up slightly this season. During 2009-10, a total of 102.8
million 40-pound-equivalent boxes were shipped. The first estimate for the
2010-11 crop was released Aug. 11, with volume for the season expected to
be 108.8 million 40-pound boxes. According to Mr. DeVaney, estimate
variations fall within a 1-5 percent margin.
The initial estimate was released following a survey of the state's apple
packers. Although Mr. DeVaney expects the estimated volume will trend
downward slightly as the season progresses, he said, "There is a lot of fruit on
the tree, and a lot will be available for the box."
“The [distribution] through the top varieties shows a well spread-out
manifest,” said Charles Pomianek, director of the Wenatchee Valley Traffic
Association. “We’re in good shape.”
Spring weather in Washington was damp and cool. “It put us behind on
growth, pollination and sizing,” said Mr. DeVaney.
Hail fell sporadically in various parts of the state while sparing others before
the August estimate was released. Mr. Pomianek said that there are no reports
of substantial hail damage to the crop. “There appears to be some russeting
on some varieties,” he stated. “Packers are encouraging some sorting in the
The cooler weather is expected to reduce the overall apple size profile by as
much as one size.
“It looks like it’s going to be a little smaller size for apples,” Mr. Pomianek
went on to say. “The guys are working really hard here to get a good crop
On Aug. 27, Mr. DeVaney said that temperatures in Washington were warm.
“If the warmth continues, it could boost sizing,” he told The Produce News.
Washington is the nation’s No. 1 apple producer. The August numbers
revealed the following with regard to volume by variety: Red Delicious, 35.4
million boxes; Golden Delicious, 11.2 million boxes; Granny Smith, 14,350
boxes; Fuji, 14,675 boxes; and Gala, 20,650 boxes.
Volume for Honeycrisp continues to grow. According to Mr. DeVaney, specific
data on Honeycrisp volume is expected to be broken out when estimates are
released for the 2011-12 crop.
The boost in Washington’s apple volume is well timed. “Washington is up this
year,” Mr. DeVaney stated. “But the nationwide apple crop will be down this
year. There is no indication of overproduction.”
Two-thirds of all Washington apples are produced in the Yakima growing
district, and the other third comes from the Wenatchee Valley growing
district. Total growing acreage in Washington is trending downward, but this
is not bad news.
“As we switch to the more dense plantings, we’ve seen production go up and
acreage go down,” Mr. DeVaney explained. “Volume over time is showing a
Mr. Pomianek said the transition from old-crop to new-crop fruit is expected
to be orderly. “We will realistically have the same carryover as we did in
2008,” he said. Old-crop Galas had already cleaned up as new-crop Galas
came into production. “Golden Delicious left in storage is absolutely minimal,”
he said on Aug. 27. “They should be cleaned up by the end of August.”
Washington typically exports one-third of its apple crop. A slower economic
recovery in the United States is being outpaced by faster economic recovery in
foreign markets. “This has made apples attractive in some countries,” Mr.