Aug 12, 2022USDA predicts slight growth in 2022 fresh, processing apple crops
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting the 2022 apple crop to increase 3% from 2021 production, despite an anticipated dip in Washington volume because of a wet, windy and colder than usual spring.
New York and Michigan, the second- and third-largest producing states, respectively, will easily propel U.S. volumes past Washington’s deficit. New York growers are expecting near-record yields, according to the USDA, and Michigan’s estimate represents a 68% increase, after frost lowered 2021’s production.
The report’s projection of 10.1 billion pounds – 252.5 million 40-pound boxes – of apples is for the fresh and processing markets. The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the apple crop forecast on Aug. 12 in its crop production report for the month.
Washington apple growers expected a smaller crop. Growers who shared their estimates at a May meeting of the Washington Apple Commission put the fresh-market production at 105 million-115 million 40-pound boxes (4.2 billion-4.6 billion pounds). The five-year fresh-market average at the time was 128.3 million boxes.
The August USDA estimate of 6.5 billion pounds (162.5 million boxes) in Washington represents a 4% drop from the 2021 crop, which was already lower than average.
New York growers saw a moderate winter, followed by ideal growing conditions, according to the NASS report. The estimate for the New York crop, for fresh and processing markets, is 1.45 billion pounds, or 36.25 million boxes.
According to the USDA, New York growers are reporting near-record yields after the favorable winter and spring weather.
New York produced 1.34 billion pounds (33.5 million 40-pound boxes) of apples for the 2021 crop.
The whopping 68% increase in Michigan – from 656 million pounds (16.4 million boxes) to 1.1 billion pounds (27.5 million boxes) – reflects not only the frost damage in the previous season, but this year’s growing conditions. Many apple varieties are expected to be harvested ahead of schedule and growers told the USDA they anticipate some of the best yields since 2016.
The USDA’s crop report also includes forecasts for other apple-producing states:
- Pennsylvania – 460 million pounds, down from 557 million pounds in 2021;
- California – 240 million pounds, up from 216 million pounds in 2021;
- Virginia – 185 million pounds, up from 164 million pounds in 2021; and
- Oregon – 175 million pounds, up from 155.5 million pounds in 2021.
The U.S. Apple Association will give its crop estimate on the second day of the Aug. 18-19 annual Outlook Conference in Chicago. Chris Gerlach, director of industry analytics at U.S. Apple, will present the association’s production forecast and associated industry insights.
—Chris Koger, managing editor