Apple movement stayed brisk in May, but shippers and marketers still have their work cut out for them if they hope to move all of the huge 2008-09 crop.

Fresh movement was up 21% over last year, and 19% above the 5-year average, according to the June Market News report from the Vienna, Va.-based U.S. Apple Association.

But at 24.4 million bushels on June 1, fresh holdings were 55% higher than last year and 39% above the 5-year average.

By variety, 10.6 million bushels of fresh-market red delicious had yet to be shipped as of June 1, according to the association.

Fresh holdings for granny smiths stood at 4.3 million bushels; golden delicious, 3.8 million; fujis, 2.6 million; and galas, 1.2 million.

Initially, the 2008-09 U.S. apple crop was expected to be in the normal range. But by Nov. 1, the apple association reported that the fresh crop stood at nearly 114 million bushels, 13% more than the year before and 9% above the 5-year average.

At 109 million bushels, Washington's combined fresh/processing crop in 2008-09 is a record, almost 4 million bushels more than the previous record crop in 2004-05.

To help get the crop shipped, in May the apple industry asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to buy at least 1 million boxes of apples.