Aug 15, 2008
USDA Estimates Fruit Crop Size; Apples Up from 2007

USDA Estimates Fruit Crop Size; Apples Up from 2007

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released its Aug. 1 estimate of U.S. crop production Aug. 12, which included estimates for the size of the national apple, peach, pear, grape and plum crops.

The apple crop estimate put national production at 9,165.2 million pounds, up just slightly from the frost-damaged 2007 crop and well down from 9,871.7 million pounds in 2006.

U.S. peach production was put at 1,093,850 tons, down from last year’s 1,128,740 tons but bigger than the 2006 crop.

Plum and prune production for the four top producing states was put at 18,800 tons, well up from the short 2007 crop of 12,100 tons but down from 21,500 tons in 2006.

Pear production was forecast at 408,000 tons, down from 423,000 tons last year.

U.S. grape production was forecast at 7,195,100 tons, up slightly from last year and well up from 2006. California and Washington production figures are divided by grape types. Wine grape production was forecast at 3.4 million tons in California and 135,000 tons in Washington.

In more detail and converting pounds to 42-pound bushels, apple production in the top producing states is forecast as follows:
-Washington: 128.57 million bushels, up from 123.81 million last year.
-New York: 27.38 million bushels, down from 31.19 million last year.
-Michigan: 12.86 million bushels, down from 18.33 million last year and 20.95 million bushels in 2006.
-Pennsylvania: 9.52 million bushels, down from 11.19 million bushels in each of the last two years.

In millions of bushels, the U.S. apple crop was forecast at 218.22 million bushels, up from 217 million last year and down from 235.04 million bushels in 2007.

The four states with prunes and plums are Oregon, forecast at 9,000 tons; Washington, 4,800 tons; Idaho, 2,700 tons; and Michigan, 2.300 tons. The western crop is bigger than last year’s, while Michigan’s is down from 3,100 tons last year and 3,600 tons in 2006.

California is by far the largest peach producer, with a crop forecast at 430,000 tons of freestone peaches and 380,000 tons of clingstones. California production this year is down in both categories.

South Carolina comes in second in freestone peaches this year, with 52,000 tons after the disastrous freezes last year that reduced the crop to 12,500 tons. It is not as large as the 60,000-ton year of 2006.

Georgia comes in third this year, with 35,000 tons – a big recovery from last year – followed closely by New Jersey, with production this year of 34,000 tons, up just slightly from last year. In general, the South has peaches after wipeout freezes last year.

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