Apple growers may see higher returns this season

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WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) – Experts say Washington apple growers may be in for higher returns with large crop amounts expected and a decline in apple production in Europe, Mexico and Canada.

The Washington State Tree Fruit Association’s Aug. 1 forecast estimates this year’s crop will yield 130.9 million, 40-pound boxes.  The record Washington apple harvest was 143.6 million boxes in 2014

World apple market analyst and retired university agricultural economist Desmond O’Rourke tells the Capital Press that Europe’s apple crop suffered a 21 percent decline because of frost damage and weather. According to O’Rourke, Mexico is experience a 30 percent drop in its apple production, and Canada’s is down by 5 percent.

He says a weakening dollar may also improve the state’s foreign market opportunities.  O’Rouke also told the Capital Press there are still over 5 million boxes of apples from the 2016 crop that still have to be sold and may hamper marketing efforts of the new crop.

The 2017 harvest is getting underway and Stemilt was set to begin Gala harvest on Sunday in Mattawa, according to Robin Graham, assistant general manager.

Graham told the Capital Press “Weather is looking good, moderate. The trend so far is cool nights and warm days which is what we want,” he said.

Cool nights and warm days develop apple color and sugar.

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