Washington apple crop expected to be similar to 2020 despite heat wave
The Washington state fresh apple crop is expected to be of a similar size to last season despite a severe heat wave earlier this summer, according to the Washington State Tree Fruit Association's (WSTFA) 2021 forecast.
The 2021 forecast is for a crop of just under 125 million standard forty-pound boxes of fresh apples. This would be a 2.3% increase from 2020’s 122 million box crop, but down 7.2% from the 2019 crop of 134.5 million boxes.
“The 2021 Washington state apple crop looks to be similar in size to last year’s crop. Growing seasons are never the same, and currently many WSTFA members are still evaluating the impact of this summer’s adverse and variable weather conditions," said Jon DeVaney, WSTFA President.
"Members have made their best attempt to incorporate these factors, but with harvest just beginning and several months of unknown weather ahead, further reductions in the size of the forecasted crop are possible."
“In spite of these challenges, our growers anticipate meeting strong consumer demand with an ample and high-quality harvest. This crop reflects the continued growth of new varieties to delight all consumer tastes combined with the high standards of quality that domestic and international consumers have come to expect.”
For the third straight year, Gala will be the most numerous variety at 21%, Red Delicious is projected at 16%, followed by Honeycrisp and Granny Smith at 14%, and Fuji at 13% of total production. This year, Cosmic Crisp is forecast to come in at 3% of the total crop, a 114% increase from the 2020-21 crop, and Cripps Pink at 6%.
Organic apple production is forecast to be 12.3% of the total, or 15.36 million boxes. This is essentially unchanged from the 15.6 million boxes in the 2020 apple crop. Although it should be noted that typically not all organic production is ultimately packed and marketed as organic.
This forecast is based on a survey of WSTFA members, and represents a best estimate of the total volume of apples that will eventually be packed and sold on the fresh market (excluding product sent to processor).
Apple harvest typically begins in August and continues into November, and as a result this forecast is still subject to several months of variable weather which can affect the final harvest total.