WENATCHEE, WA (October 7, 2015)
The estimated volume for the 2015 Washington apple harvest continues to decrease as harvest finishes around the state. The August estimate first predicted 125 million cartons, which was adjusted downward at the end of August to 120-121 million cartons. The latest estimate, released on October 7, put the total crop volume at 118.3 million cartons. However, industry insiders think that number could be high, and predict the crop total will be between 110 and 115 million. This seems to prove the common wisdom that a “short crop comes in shorter.”
With the unusually warm summer weather, harvest started about two weeks earlier than normal, and as of mid-October many growing districts are finishing up the late varieties. Some of the northern districts still have late varieties left to pick such as Fuji and Cripps Pink.
Although the overall crop is down almost 16% from 2014, a few varieties – Honeycrisp, Cripps Pink and Granny Smith- showed increases, mainly due to increased planting, or in the case of Granny Smith, an “on” year for production. Granny Smiths have a full range of sizes with good quality, and finding Grannies in the 113/125 size range should be easier than 2014. Red Delicious and Gala, the two major export varieties, have decreased in volume from 2014, and due to warmer weather in the growing season (less difference in temperature between day and night) are showing a greater number of WXF#1 and WXF#2 this season.
Premiums will be harder to find, and most likely carry a premium price as well. On the positive side for export markets, sizing is smaller this season, and it will be easier to source sizes 113 and smaller than in 2014. Golden Delicious is a variety that has limited exports, and the volume has declined significantly. Many Golden Delicious orchards have been pulled out, and the predicted volume of 8.7 million cartons is the lowest since 1973! The Fuji harvest is estimated at 15.5 million cartons, down almost 3 million cartons from 2014. Sizing is smaller as well, so expect firm pricing on higher grades and larger sizes.
This is a general overview of the Washington apple 2015 crop harvest at this time, and individual packers and shippers will have their own manifest to work with. Bottom line, work with your supplier to determine the best Washington apple mix for your customers!