Oct 1, 2012Acreage down, trees up for Michigan fruit growers
According to a census of apple varieties and acreage conducted by the Michigan office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, total acreage for Michigan has decreased since 2000, when the total was 47,500. In 2011, the total was 36,500 acres.
Red Delicious had the most acres of any variety in the state, with 6,810. Golden Delicious had 4,120 acres, Idared 2,820 acres and Jonathan 2,800 acres. All of those varieties, however, are declining in total acreage.
Gala acreage has grown from 2,800 to 3,780 in the last five years. The census showed that it is the most-planted variety in the past five years, with 459,600 trees going into the ground. Much of them were planted in higher densities. There are currently 1.4 million Gala trees in the state. By comparison, while there is more acreage for Red Delicious in Michigan, there are slightly fewer Red Delicious trees.
Honeycrisp is also on the rise, growing from 670 acres in 2000 to 2,020 acres in 2011. As for Honeycrisp trees, 319,600 were planted in the last five years, and there are a total of 783,000 in the state, according to the census.
Michigan has 9.2 million apples trees in the ground. In the last five years, the state has added 2.1 million, mostly in higher-density planting systems.
Tart cherry acreage increased slightly from 2000, to a total of 32,000 acres. That number has remained basically the same since 2003. The sharpest increase was in the size of the farms, with more 200-plus-acre farms in 2001 than in previous years.
There are 3.6 million tart cherry trees in the state; all but 1,400 of the total acres are planted in Montmorency.
Sweet cherry acreage decreased since 2003, according to the survey. In 2003, there were 9,000 acres of sweet cherries in Michigan. By 2006, that total had dropped to 7,500; by 2011, it was down to 7,200.
Leading varieties were Gold (183,000 trees), Emperor Francis (157,000 trees) and Ulster (103,500 trees). Overall, there were 800,000 sweet cherry trees in production in Michigan in 2011.
Peach acreage was down to 4,000 acres in 2011. That was a loss of 1,700 acres since 2003. There were 680,000 peach trees in the state in 2011, with a breakdown of many varieties led by Red Haven, Goldnine, Baby Gold-5 and various Flamin’ Fury varieties.