Apple Growers Anticipate Bountiful Crop

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CASNOVIA, Mich. — After a bad year in 2012, apple growers around West Michigan expect a healthy crop this year.

“Michigan has the potential for about 30 million bushels of apples in a perfect situation,” said Nels Nyblad, co-owner of Nyblad Family Farms. “The processors and the grower organizations have guessed this crop to come in between 26, 27 million bushels.”

He said this year’s high yield may not be enough to fully recoup from last year. It’s just a start.

For Nyblad Family Farms, 2012 was a disaster for their apple crops.

“We didn’t have any crop to handle so it was devastating,” said Nyblad, “not only for the growers but for the people who handled Michigan apples, [also for] the processors, ,the press slicers, the apple sauce makers.”

March 2012 brought summer-like temperatures. Nyblad said warm temperatures triggered early apple blossoms, and then came a frost that wouldn’t end. “Usually you can sustain one night of freezing temperatures as it will take 80% of the blossoms, but when they continue every night for many times, there was nothing left last year.”

Nyblad said about 5 million bushels of apples were produced in Michigan last year. That’s extremely low. The yield was so low, apples had to be imported to Michigan from the west coast. This year, he said, the crops bloomed later, and the weather is just right.

“We’ve got some inroads to make back into the market, because last year we were absent. So it may be somewhat of a struggle to get back into it with this big crop.”

A large amount of the apple crop will be picked in September and October, he said.

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