(Aug. 19) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2004 national apple production forecast, including fresh and processed product, calls for 9.37 billion pounds, up 9% from the 8.6 billion pounds produced last year.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service foresees the largest increase for Washington, with 700 million pounds more this season, for a production of 5.2 billion pounds after last year’s lower packout of 4.5 billion pounds. The second-largest producer, New York, is expected to see an increase of 60 million pounds, to 1.05 billion pounds.

Michigan, is the third-highest producer, with an estimated drop from 840 million pounds to 760 million pounds because of severe frosts in May and summer hailstorms, NASS reported. Despite the drop, the estimate is 46% higher than the 2002 crop, when weather reduced the crop.

Fourth-leading producer California also is expected to see a slight production decrease, from 450 million pounds to 440 million pounds.

The statistics service released the information in a production report on Aug. 12. The U.S. Apple Association, Vienna, Va., was to release its crop estimate at its annual Apple Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference Aug. 19-20 in Chicago.