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WA apple crop volume downgraded following feedback from growers

The Nov. 1 storage report for Washington apples was released was officially released Nov. 7. Data were based upon recently received grower feedback. According to the report, figures for this season’s crop were revised to a projected 113.2 million boxes. “Some folks are still picking later varieties, and so this figure is based partly on an estimate,” said Jon DeVaney, executive director of the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association. “Adjustments often happen in our December report as final harvest numbers come in.”

AppleOVThe Washington apple crop for 2013-14 is considered good-sized despite a dip in volume. (Photo courtesy of Stemilt Growers LLC)Even with this downgrading from the original estimate released in August, DeVaney said, “It’s still a good-sized crop.” Some of the downgrading was attributed to the result of heat stress in orchards during August.

Last season, Washington had both a record-setting crop and record-setting exports.

“Last year was an unusual year,” DeVaney said. Crop losses elsewhere in the nation saw Washington growers picking everything they could to fill the gap. “Even with the Eastern states being a bigger presence than last year, demand [this season] has been great.”

Weather in October was favorable, and apples colored up well. “The harvest, for all practical purposes, is over,” Charles Pomianek, director of the Wenatchee Valley Traffic Association, said Oct. 31. “Movement has actually been very, very good.” The transition from old-crop to new-crop apples has been orderly, with product from 2012-13 cleaning out well.

Pomianek provided some insights and movement comparisons between this year’s crop and those of 2012 and 2011. “We are a little behind  compared to 2012,” he stated. As of Oct. 27, a total of 15.4 million boxes had entered the pipeline. On Oct. 27, 2012, a total of 17.6 million boxes had been shipped. And in 2011, 14.2 million boxes were outbound.

Data show that a total of 128.5 million boxes of apples were produced for the 2012-13 crop year. During the 2011-12 season, that total was 109 million boxes.

Pomianek said the typical range for export is 29-32 percent of total crop volume. At the current time, 3.6 million boxes of apples have been exported, accounting for 24 percent of available crop volume. “That will grow throughout the season,” he noted.

Last season, 41 million boxes of apples were exported, accounting for 32 percent of overall volume.