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Washington set for apple crop of nearly 133 million boxes

The Washington apple harvest typically begins in early August and continues into November, consequently this forecast is still subject to several months of variable weather which could affect the final season’s crop total, the association said in a press release.

The Washington State Tree Fruit Association (WSTFA) has forecast the figure of 132.9 million standard forty pound boxes of fresh apples for the 2016 Washington state fresh apple crop.

This is up 15% on last year’s 115 million box crop, but down 6% on 2014’s record of 141.8 million boxes.

The weather in 2016 has been favourable for the development of a high-quality crop with good colour and storability, according to WSTFA president Jon DeVaney, who said the harvest began 1-2 weeks earlier as a result of those conditions.

“Washington apple growers expect to deliver a large crop of beautiful apples to consumers this year,” he said.

Red Delicious remains the most numerous variety and is expected to account for a quarter of total production. Gala is close behind at 23%, followed by Fuji at 14% and Granny Smith at 13%. This year Honeycrisp is forecast to come in at 7% of the total crop and Cripps Pinks at 4%.

The forecast is based on a survey of WSTFA members, and represents a best estimate of the total volume of apples that will eventually be packed and sold on the fresh market (excluding product sent to processor).

The Washington apple harvest typically begins in early August and continues into November, consequently this forecast is still subject to several months of variable weather which could affect the final season’s crop total, the association said in a press release.