Grand Rapids area apple maturity report – October 1, 2014

After a slow start, the Ridge reaches a peak apple harvest window.

General comments

Gala harvest is mostly complete on the Ridge. Honeycrisp are finishing up with second and third pickings. McIntosh is nearly completed as well. Cool weather is helping apples develop attractive color and good, crisp texture, but has slowed internal maturity development for Gala, Honeycrisp and McIntosh. Later varieties seem to not be delayed as much and we feel our predicted harvest dates for Jonathans, Jonagolds, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious are on target.

Harvest over the next few weeks may become very compressed. Stay on top of your harvest by doing frequent walk-throughs and prioritize picking with your marketer, crop consultant, storage operator, etc. The weather forecast seems to be taking a turn for the worse with cool and rainy conditions. If fruit have color, firmness, brix, size and some starch clearing, it’s time to go after them.

Below is the table of the Grand Rapids, Michigan area predicted harvest dates for remaining apple varieties – we are surprised by how late the maturity is compared to these dates for 2014.

Predicted apple harvest dates for Grand Rapids, Michigan

Variety

Normal date

2014 predicted date

Jonathan

28-Sep

2-Oct

Jonagold

28-Sep

2-Oct

Golden Delicious

2-Oct

6-Oct

Red Delicious

5-Oct

10-Oct

Ida Red

10-Oct

14-Oct

Rome

15-Oct

18-Oct

Fuji

25-Oct

28-Oct

Braeburn

25-Oct

28-Oct

Goldrush

1-Nov

4-Nov

For the Hart/Shelby, Michigan area, growers can expect harvest dates to be behind the Grand Rapids, Michigan area using this guide: along the lakeshore approximately six days behind Grand Rapids; areas inland about four days behind.

Summary of Grand Rapids, Michigan apple maturity samples measured Sept. 30, 2014

Variety

Avg. Ethylene (ppm)

% Fruits with Ethylene over 0.2 ppm

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. pressure (range)

Starch (range)

Brix (range)

Gala

3.021

100

100

17 (13.8-19.5)

5.6 (4-7)

13.1 (12-13.7)

McIntosh

7.312

60

100

12.7 (10.5-14.8)

5.9 (5-7)

13.2 (12.7-13.7)

Honeycrisp

0.0605

0

69 (30-100)

13.3 (11.5-15)

7.7 (7-8)

11.9 (10.7-14.2)

Cortland

0.0306

0

54 (15-60)

15.1 (12.8-16.6

2.6 (1-6)

10.7 (9.8-11.2)

Empire

0.5802

70

94 (85-100)

14.8 (13-17.8)

5.1 (4-6)

10.7 (10.5-11)

Jonagold

0.0596

0

76 (50-90)

14.9 (13.5-16.8)

5.4 (3-7)

11.6 (11-12.7)

Golden Delicious

0.0378

0

20

14.7 (12.5-17)

4.6 (4-7)

12.3 (11.2-13)

Red Delicious

0.1127

20

95 (75-100)

15.8 (13.8-17.8)

1.6 (1-2)

10.6 (10-11.5)

Ida Red

0.081

0

73 (60-90)

14.7 (13.2-17.2)

1

10.7 (10-11)

Fuji (Aztec)

0.0622

0

75 (45-85)

17.7 (15.9-20.8)

1.4 (1-2)

12.6 (12-13)

Gala

Gala harvest is nearly complete on the Ridge and at a peak in Oceana County. On the Ridge, Gala is in a mid-term controlled atmosphere (CA) window and in condition for long-term CA still for farther north. Color and pressure are similar to last week’s samples. Starch clearing is rated at 5.6 this week compared to 3 last week. Brix are much improved this week at 13.1 where last week was 11.3.

McIntosh

McIntosh have moved forward in the last week in maturity and are in the long-term CA window now. Many McIntosh have come off in the last week. Finally, some ethylene production is taking place in McIntosh fruits with 60 percent of fruits being over the 0.2 ppm climacteric compared to none above 0.2 ppm last week.

Pressure has declined from 14.8 pounds to 12.7 pounds this week on average. Starch readings are 5.9 this week, up from 4 last week. Brix has improved from 12.6 to 13.2. McIntosh should stay in the long-term CA storage window for the rest of this week and move to a mid-term CA level in five to seven days on the Ridge.

Honeycrisp

Quite a few Honeycrisp have been harvested in the last 10 days. All that are left are second and third pickings that are waiting for color. Our samples this week reflect poor color and ethylene production from these remaining fruits. Honeycrisp pressure and starch are similar to last week and brix have improved from 10.3 to 11.9 this week.

Cortland

There is some forward movement in maturity, but ethylene is quite low at 0.03 ppm on average. Color is improved from 34 percent last week to 54 percent this week. Firmness is very good at 15.1 pounds this week compared to 16.2 pounds last week. Starch clearing ratings are quite variable, ranging from 1 to 6 with an average of 2.6. Brix are the same average as last week at 10.7. Cortland are usually ready around the same time as Empire, so if you were storing them for long-term, they are ready now.

Empire

Empire made a giant leap forward this week compared to last week, with ethylene readings showing 70 percent of fruits over 0.2 ppm. Pressure is good at an average of 14.8 pounds, down from 15.9 pounds last week. Starch averages 5.1 compared to 4.2 last week and brix are 10.7. Empire is in the long-term CA storage window and will remain there for at least seven days on the Ridge.

Jonathan

We did not test Jonathan this week as our sample trees had been harvested. Quite a few Jonathans are coming off now.

Jonagold

No significant Jonagold harvest has happened on the Ridge, but they are very close. Most are waiting for better color. We have seen forward movement in Jonagold maturity – color is up from 42 percent red color last week to 76 percent this week in our sample block. Firmness is still very good at 14.9 pounds pressure compared to 15.3 last week. Starch clearing is at 5.4 compared to 3 last week. Brix are the same at 11.6. Ethylene is still very low in Jonagolds with no fruits over 0.2 ppm again this week.

The predicted harvest date for Jonagold is Oct. 2. They are very close to that long-term CA storage window. Harvest of the redder strains could begin any day on the Ridge.

Golden Delicious

There is a continuation of very low ethylene production with no fruits over 0.2 ppm. Firmness is good at 14.7 pounds and brix at 12.3 – both readings are the same as last week’s samples. Starch clearing ratings were 4.6 this week compared to 3.9 last week.

The predicted harvest date for Golden Delicious for long-term CA storage is Oct. 6. They are not quite there for fresh retail sales, but are ready for long-term CA storage and many are in processor bins already.

Red Delicious

Red Delicious were sampled for the first time this week. Approximately 20 percent of fruits sampled already have ethylene over 0.2 ppm, which isn’t unusual for Red Delicious. Color is excellent on Red Delicious this fall. Fruit firmness is good at 15.8 pounds pressure. Starch clearing is 1.6 with all fruits reading 1 to 2. Brix are on the low side at 10.6, which isn’t all that unusual for Red Delicious.

Our predicted harvest date for Red Delicious is Oct. 10 and with this initial sample, that looks to be a good target date for the long-term CA stored fruit.

Ida Red

Ida Red were also sampled for the first time this week. No fruits are over 0.2 ppm ethylene. Color is really nice on Ida Reds this year. Firmness is lower than expected at 14.7 pounds. Starch readings are a solid one and brix are very low at 10.7. The predicted harvest date for Ida Red on the Ridge is Oct. 14. These early maturity indices suggest that date will be accurate.

Fuji (Aztec)

Our regular (late) Fuji this year is the Aztec strain. With a predicted harvest date for the Grand Rapids, Michigan area of Oct. 28, we are not surprised at the story our sampling data shows this week. No fruits over 0.2 ppm ethylene. Color is pretty good at an average of 75 percent. Fruit are very hard at 17.1 pound pressure. The starch readings averaged 1.4 with a range of ones and twos. Brix are very good for four weeks before the anticipated harvest at 12.6.

Looking for more? View Michigan State University Extension’s Apple Maturity Program and Reports resource page for regional reports throughout the state and additional resources.

Related Events

Related Articles

Related Resources