The prospect of Washington State’s record apple crop, with more than 20 million bushels of sort-outs, is having an effect on the processing apple market.
Phil Pitts, who mans the sales desk for the Michigan Processing Apple Growers Association, said those bushels overhung the bargaining process with Michigan processors. He told Good Fruit Grower during the U.S. Apple Association’s Outlook and Marketing Conference in August that the results of the negotiations were “disappointing.”
The Michigan Processing Apple Growers marketing committee had negotiated minimum apple prices with six apple processors. The prices are $12.50 a hundredweight for hard varieties 2 ½ inches and up, and $10 for soft varieties of that size. No price was negotiated for juice or undersize apples.
Mark Seetin, who crunches numbers for the U.S. Apple Association, said in his presentation that the overall price for fresh market apples was 41 cents a pound in 2013, 10 percent below the 2012 price, but 4 percent higher than in 2011.
The price for all apples averaged 31 cents a pound to growers in 2013, down from 37 cents in 2012 but slightly above the 30 cents of 2011. Processing apple prices fell from $281 a ton in 2012 to $200 a ton last year.
The juice apple price last year fell to $151 per ton, down from $221 per ton in 2012 and down from $198 a ton in 2011.
On the demand side, American consumers ate more apples and apple products last year—45 pounds per person, up 2 pounds from 2012.