Results from the 2011 Michigan Fruit Tree Acreage Inventory show they were 825 commercial apple farms in the state at the end of that year, covering 36,500 acres. That was 500 acres fewer than at the time of the last inventory, taken in 2006, but the number of trees increased by 22 percent.
There are now 9.24 million apple trees on commercial farms in Michigan, with 2.1 million of them added in high density plantings over the last five years.
The inventory was compiled by the Michigan office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
There was a slight shift in location of the apples. The nine counties in the west central area, which includes Fruit Ridge north of Grand Rapids, grew by 700 acres to 22,200. The five counties in southwest Michigan saw acreage decline by 700 to 8,100 acres. The area around Traverse City in northwestern Michigan declined 200 acres to 3,800.
Most apple acreage in along the Lake Michigan shore, but the inventory found 254 growers with 2,400 acres of apples on the state’s interior and eastern side. Most of these are direct marketers located on the state’s most populous side.
Berrien County in southwest Michigan had 123 growers, the most of any county, followed by 82 in Kent County, the Grand Rapids area.
The leading varieties were Red Delicious (6,810 acres), Golden Delicious (4,120), Gala (3,780), Idared (2,820), and Jonathan (2,800). All of these except Gala saw declining acreage. Gala acreage grew from 2,800 to 3,780 acres over the last five years and was the most-planted variety.
Honeycrisp acreage grew by 670 acres to 2,020, and now comprises 5.5 percent of the acreage. McIntosh grew slightly to 2,470 acres.