The U.S. Pink Lady apple crop fell short of production forecasts by 17% this season, but the brand owners remain optimistic about the future.
The pre-season estimate of 130,000 metric tons (MT) fell short by nearly 22,000MT, with production of around six million boxes. This is similar to trends seen across the U.S. apple industry, with Washington state’s total apple harvest down by 14% year-on-year.
Mild autumn weather set up perfect conditions for coloring and maturity, which will allow the crop to store “long into 2019”.
“Despite a tonnage shortfall of nearly 17% in 2018, there is an expectation for continued and even expanded growth in the in the production of Pink Lady apples over the next several years,” said Lynnell Brandt, president of Pink Lady America.
Since the introduction of the new, earlier maturing cultivar called ‘Barnsby’ (named after the breeder Australia) there are new Pink Lady plantings and orders for advance plantings in such areas as northern Washington State, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania as well as Ontario and British Columbia in Canada.
This new clone matures as much as four weeks earlier than the standard Cripps Pink clone. Its quality is the same as the traditional Cripps Pink and is being marketed under the Pink Lady brand in the U.S.