Industry considers 2014 apple estimatesWashington apple industry leaders anticipate a record crop of apples in 2014, and other industry projections are expected to come into sharper focus after the Aug. 21-22 U.S. Apple Association’s Marketing and Outlook Conference.

The Aug. 1 industry estimate for fresh packout in the Washington is 140.2 million cartons, said Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission, Wenatchee, Wash. If realized, that output would easily beat the record 2012 crop of about 128 million cartons, Fryhover said. Organic apple output has been estimated at about 9.5 million cartons this year, he said. In the 2013-14 crop year, Washington fresh apple output is projected to finish the season close to 115 million cartons.

The Chicago event for the U.S. Apple Association will gather industry leaders together to review and revise the USDA estimate, which was again issued this year after budget issues related to sequestration cuts last year caused the USDA to cancel the report.

The USDA on Aug. 12 made their first estimate of the nation’s apple crop, projecting total U.S. volume at 259.5 million (42-pound bushels), up 8% from 2013.

The USDA said Western apple states are projected to harvest 174.5 million bushels, up 13% from a year ago. Production in the East was estimated by the USDA at 54 million bushels up 7% from last year.Apple production in the Central states was forecast by the USDA at 30.2 million bushels, down 12% from last year.

In Washington state, the increase in output reflects higher density plantings in the last decade, Fryhover said.

“As those old orchards come out at 300 trees per acres, we are putting them back in at a 1,000 or 1,500 trees per acre,” he said.

Growers are planting more galas, Honeycrisp, Fuji, cripps pink and other popular varieties to satisfy consumer demand. With the large crop, Fryhover said the export promotions of the Washington Apple Commission will focus on red delicious, golden delicious and granny smith apples.

“We are going to focus really strongly on red delicious export opportunities this year,” he said.