Apple growers in Michigan, USA are forecast to harvest 18.25 million bushels this year amid improved market access for Australian citrus in the country
The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has agreed to expand access for citrus exports following negotiation from the Australian government.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud welcomed the news: “We value our trade relationship with the US very highly and we are committed to providing the US with our top-quality product”, Littleproud said.
“Just last year we exported over $19 million of citrus to the US. Our overseas counsellors and technical experts are now working through the details of an operational work plan with the US to support the expanded access. Once finalised exports of citrus produced in inland Queensland, Western Australia, and Bourke and Narromine in New South Wales to the US can commence.”
Continuing, he said, ‘’this is excellent news for Australian growers, expanded access will greatly benefit the citrus industry and growers in the additional regions. Previously citrus was only exported to the US from the Riverina (New South Wales), the Riverland (South Australia), and the Sunraysia New South Wales and Victoria). This win will contribute towards the Australian Government’s commitment of a $100 billion agriculture sector by 2030.”
However, Michigan’s official crop estimate of 18.25 million bushels (766.5 million pounds) of apples was announced Friday as part of the USApple Outlook meeting which was held in Chicago. The 2021 estimate is below average for the Michigan Apple industry.
Executive Director of the Michigan Apple Committee, Diane Smith, said “in late April, a freeze occurred in which some Michigan apple growing areas experienced nine or more hours in the 20ºF range, which was too cold for any of the delicate apple blossoms that had opened at that time.”
“Even with frost protection tools and the apple trees’ natural defense mechanisms, some of the fruit was lost. However, there will still be plenty of apples to enjoy this fall”, Smith adds.
According to the USDA, Michigan harvested 22 million bushels of apples in 2020. There are more than 14.9 million apple trees in commercial production, covering 34,500 acres on 775 family-run farms in Michigan.
“Many factors contribute to the size of an apple crop, including weather and the size of the previous year’s crop. To make the estimate, growers and other industry experts report on what they are seeing in various regions of the state, then come to a consensus on the crop size estimate”, said Smith.
While the 2021 crop is smaller, the fruit on the trees looks good, said Smith. In addition, a smaller crop this year could mean a larger one for 2022.
Continuing, Smith said “when apple trees produce a smaller crop, energy is stored and directed toward production for the next crop. The industry is hopeful we’ll see a larger crop next year. In the meantime, growers are proud of the crop they produced this year, thanks to their hard work, a few sleepless nights and crop protection tools in which they have invested.”
The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded non-profit organization devoted to marketing, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption in Michigan and around the world.