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Michigan apple industry wraps 2016 calendar year in record fashion

The Michigan Apple industry set new shipment records 11 weeks in a row in from Oct. 15 through Christmas, according to the USDA Specialty Crop Market News Service.

“These record numbers come as no surprise after the Michigan Apple industry reported an estimated record crop of 31 million bushels for 2016. Growers, packers and shippers have been working very hard to continue to move the apple crop,” Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, said in a press release. “These numbers illustrate not only that we have a large crop, but also that there is great retail and consumer demand for Michigan-grown apples.”

According to the USDA Specialty Crop Market News Service, the organization that tracks shipment numbers, the Michigan Apple industry shipped 330,150 boxes of apples the week of Oct. 15. The weeks of Oct. 22 and 29, and Nov. 5 each recorded more than 300,000 boxes. The week of Dec. 24 saw shipments at 153,787 boxes, more than 1,200 higher than that week in 2013. Comprehensive shipment data for Michigan and the entire United States can be found at the USDA Specialty Crop Market News Service website.

“With the adoption of high-density orchard plantings, more trees in the ground and new technology from the orchard, to the packingline, to the retailer, this is a trend that will continue,” said Smith. “Michigan is poised to increase apple production into the future, and the Michigan Apple Committee is prepared to support that growth through retail programs, consumer education and research funding.”

With 11.3 million total apple trees in commercial production on 35,500 acres, Michigan is the second-largest producer of apples in the United States, and distributes apples to 27 states and 18 countries.