Editor’s Note: This article has been updated on Aug. 18 to reflect the final USApple estimates released on the second day of the conference.
The U.S. Apple Association announced its final estimate of the 2023-24 U.S. apple crop on Friday: 256.3 million bushels, up 4.1 percent from last year’s crop.
Washington state’s estimate matched the earlier U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate at 160 million bushels, up 9 percent from last year. California’s estimate is 4.8 million bushels, up 14 percent. Oregon’s estimate is 3 million bushels, down 8 percent from last year.
Further east, Michigan boosted the USDA estimate to 32 million bushels, down just 1 percent from last year’s record crop. New York raised its estimate to 28 million bushels, down 13 percent from last year. Pennsylvania’s estimate is 10.75 million bushels, up 9 percent. Virginia’s estimate is 4.35 million bushels, down 1 percent. Remaining states will produce 13.9 million bushels, up 1 percent from the previous crop.
USApple convenes in Chicago every year to estimate the size of the coming crop.
The Friday estimate is up slightly from the figures the industry shared on Thursday, which put the 2023–24 U.S. apple crop at 250 million 42-pound bushels.
The 250-million-bushel figure was based on USApple’s analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture data. USDA announced an expected 236-million-bushel U.S. crop earlier in August, but USDA’s estimates only include data from the top seven apple-producing states. USApple added an estimate of 14 million bushels from other states to reach a total of 250 million bushels, said Chris Gerlach, USApple’s director of industry analytics.
Gala is expected to remain the top variety, with more than 45 million bushels produced, followed by Red Delicious (31 million), Honeycrisp (28 million), Fuji (25 million) and Granny Smith (24.6 million).
Though Red Delicious remains the second most-produced apple, its production has declined by 42 percent, or 23 million bushels, compared to 2018–19 volumes. Conversely, Honeycrisp production increased by 46 percent, almost 9 million bushels, during the same period.
According to USDA, U.S. fresh apple exports totaled 36.2 million bushels in 2022 — a 7 percent decline over 2021. At the same time, fresh apple imports decreased nearly 13 percent to 5.3 million bushels. The U.S. still maintains a net positive balance of trade but has yet to get back to the high-water mark set in 2018, when total exports were 48.5 million bushels and the trade balance was 41.6 million bushels.
“With the recent news that India has lifted its 20 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. apples, we’re hoping to see that export number start to increase as we build back that critical market,” Gerlach said.