Michigan apple maturity reports – October 5, 2011

Each week, MSU Extension educators test apples for maturity in their region and report the status.

This week’s regional reports:

Southwest Michigan – Bill Shane, Mark Longstroth, and Diane Brown Michigan State University Extension

Southwest Michigan
Southwest Michigan

This is the fifth weekly apple maturity report for southwest Michigan. The samples for these reports are collected primarily in Berrien and Van Buren counties. The maturity is only a broad indication of trends for this area. Samples represent the more mature fruit in the blocks. Individual orchards may differ from these results.

Summary of Berrien County area apple maturity samples collected October 3, 2011

Variety Firmness lbs. pressure (range) Starch (range) Brix degrees (range)
Jonathan 16.1 (15.4 – 16.9)  6.4 (2.4 – 7.8) 12.9 (11.6 – 14.0)
Golden Delicious 16.2 (15.8 – 16.9)  5.8 (4.6 – 7.0) 14.3 (13.3 – 15.4)
Red Delicious 16.3 (15.4 – 17.1)  4.2 (3.2 – 4.6) 12.4 (10.6 – 14.0)
Fuji 19.3 (17.8 – 21.3)  4.6 (3.4 – 6.2) 14.1 (12.3 – 16.1)
Idared 17.0 (16.5 – 17.9)  2.7 (2.0 – 3.4) 12.0 (11.3 – 12.7)
Rome 22.3 (19.0 – 26.0) 2.8 (1.6 – 4.2) 12.2 (10.3 – 13.3)
Braeburn 22.2 (20.7 – 23.1) 2.4 (1.6 – 3.4) 12.2 (9.9 – 14.4)

Jonathan (six sample sites). Firmness this week is averaging 16.1 lbs., about the same as last week. A few more sites are in the long-term controlled atmosphere (CA) range. Starch conversion averaging 6.4 compared to 5.6 for last week, all but one in the over-mature range. The brix averages 12.9 this week, slightly higher than last week. Most sites tested are suitable for harvest for the fresh market for mid- to long-term CA storage. The estimated peak harvest date for Jonathan destined for long-term CA storage for the Benton Harbor region is September 26.

Golden Delicious (nine sites). Firmness is averaging 16.2 compared to 16.6 lbs. for last week, generally in the mid-term CA storage category. Starch conversion is averaging 5.8 compared to 4.8 for last week, with brix average of 14.3 compared to last week’s 13.3. Harvest of Golden Delicious for the mid-term fresh market is justified with sites testing starch conversion generally in the over-mature range.

Red Delicious (nine sites). Fruit firmness this week is averaging 16.3 lbs., about 0.5 lbs. less than last week, ranging from acceptable for mid- to short-term CA. Starch conversion is now averaging 4.2, compared to 3.5 last week, all in the mature range. Brix is averaging 12.4, quite a bit higher than last week’s 10.8 degrees. Pre-harvest drop is a concern in some blocks. Watercore is becoming more common.

Fuji (six sites). Firmness averaged 19.3, compared to 19.8 lbs. for last week, in the excellent to long-term CA range. Starch removal for this week averaged 4.6 compared to last week’s 3.2, with a brix average of 14.1 compared to 13.2 for last week. Some sites are testing suitable for long-term CA storage, similar to last week.

Idared (four sites). Flesh firmness averages 17.0, about the same as last week. Starch removal is averaging 2.7, slightly higher than last week’s 2.5, now with an average brix of 12.0, compared to 11.1 degrees for last week. Firmness is excellent, and with starch tests in the immature range, harvest for CA storage and more immediate sales can be delayed based on these tests. Harvest of Idared for processing is underway in area orchards.

Rome (five sites). Flesh firmness averaged 22.3 lbs. range (19.0 to 26.0), starch removal averaging 2.8 (range 1.6 to 4.2), and brix averaged 12.2. One site was showing red color from the skin bleeding into the flesh. Firmness and starch conversion stage allows harvest to be delayed if red bleeding into the flesh is not an issue with strain.

Braeburn (five sites). Flesh firmness is excellent at 22.2 lbs. Starch conversion is averaging 2.4, with a few sites testing mature. Brix is averaging 12.2 degrees with a range of 9.9 to 14.4. Firmness will allow harvest to be delayed to wait for better skin color, size, and brix.

Contact MSU fruit educator Bill Shane at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center at 269-944-1477 ext. 205 if you would like to have samples from your farm tested for maturity. See the MSU Extension News for Agriculture website for more information, including reports from other regions, and the MSU apple website for information about apple maturity and apples in general.

This report and project is made possible by the support of our sponsors, which include Valent Biosciences, Michigan Apple Committee, Michigan State Horticultural Society, MSU’s AgBioResearch and Michigan State University Extension. Southwest Michigan growers providing apples include Grandview Orchards, Mammoth Farms, Oak Hill, Bixby Orchards, Weber Farms, Meachum Farms, Kevin Winkel Farms, Weckwerth Farms, Willmeng Farms, and Czuba Farms.

Apple maturity trends for SW Michigan. Each dot is the average for an orchard based on a 10 apple sample.
Samples were taken in Berrien and Van Buren counties.
Click here to view larger image.

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Southeast Michigan – Bob Tritten and Debbie Clark, Michigan State University Extension

Southeast Michigan
Southeast Michigan

General harvest comments

Apple harvest continues to move along at a nice pace across the region. Most apple growers report that varieties are picking out longer (increased yield) than they predicted, with good fruit size. Several farms have lost one to two days picking due to rain in the last week, but for the most part it has been a steady pace. Apple growers are currently finishing Empire and Cortland harvest, and several have started on blocks of Golden Delicious and a few earlier strains of Red Delicious.

This week I sampled 11 varieties, including three new varieties: Rome, Winesap and Braeburn. The order of maturity of apple varieties is different than in most years, therefore the order of harvest of varieties needs to change to adapt to this wild growing season that we are finishing up on. For example, it now appears that Golden Delicious are well ahead of Red Delicious in terms of maturity, followed quickly by Fuji, Crispen, Northern Spy, Idared, Rome and Braeburn, with Winesap to follow.

Apple maturity in southeast Michigan for apples harvested on October 3, 2011

Variety % Fruits with Ethylene over 0.2 ppm (Range) Color (Range) Firmness Lbs. (Range) Starch (Range)

Brix %

Empire 85% (70-100%) 88% (87-88%) 13.6 lbs. (13.3-13.8) 5.0 (5.0-5.0) 12.9%
Cortland 85% (70-100%) 75% (69-81%) 14.1 lbs. (14.1-14.1) 5.1 (5.0-5.2) 11.6%
Golden Delicious 63% (30-90%) 8% (4-11%) 14.7 lbs. (13.9-15.6) 5.9 (5.0-7.1) 13.5%
Red Delicious 88% (50-100%) 90% (82-94%) 15.6 lbs. (14.9-17.0) 4.0 (2.9-5.0) 11.5%
Northern Spy 90% (70-100%) 48% (20-61%) 18.3 lbs. (17.5-19.9) 3.6 (1.4-5.0) 12.0%
Idared 43% (10-90%) 78% (69-87%) 15.6 lbs. (13.6-18.1) 3.1 (2.5-3.6) 11.5%
Crispen 37% (10-60%) 23% (16-35%) 18.4 lbs. (17.5-19.0) 3.7 (3.0-4.8) 11.8%
Fuji 53% (40-60%) 68% (58-80%) 17.5 lbs. (17.3-17.7) 4.2 (1.9-5.4) 12.5%
Rome (Law) 0% (0-0%) 77% (70-90%) 20.4 lbs. (15.7-23.0) 3.4 (3.0-5.0) 11.8%
Winesap 30% (30-30%) 45% (25-50%) 17.7 lbs. (15.6-19.5) 1.8 (1.0-2.0) 11.7%
Braeburn 50% (50-50%) 68% (50-80%) 19.2 lbs. (17.5-20.2) 3.0 (3.0-3.0) 10.6%


Individual variety results

Empire were sampled for the fourth week of the season, again with many growers finishing up on Empire fairly quickly. I was only able to take samples in two different blocks of Empire, the rest have been harvested. The percent of apples with internal ethylene levels greater than 0.2 parts per million (ppm) has jumped dramatically from 28 percent last week to 85 percent this week. The color has improved slightly to 88 percent and background color has dropped to 1.2. The fruit has dropped pressure from 15.0 lbs. last week to 13.6 lbs. this week, with the starch jumping from an average 3.5 last week to 5.0 this week. The brix has improved dramatically over the week to 12.9 percent. Empire that are being harvested currently are destined for short-term or immediate sales.

Cortland were sampled for the fourth week of the season with a limited number of samples being taken because many blocks have been harvested. The percentage of apples with internal ethylene levels greater than 0.2 ppm has jumped from 63 percent last week to 85 percent this week, with color remaining the same at 75 percent. The fruit remain fairly firm at 14.1 lbs. and the starch index has jumped two units from 3.1 last week to 5.1 this week, the brix is unchanged at 11.6 percent. Cortlands are currently being harvested at most farms. Most blocks are suitable now for immediate sales and short-term storage.

Golden Delicious were sampled for the third week of the season as well, with Smoothee being the strain that I most often attempt to sample. The percent of fruit with internal ethylene levels greater than 0.2 ppm has doubled this week to 63 percent. Most Golden blocks have a fairly nice blush on them and the background color is showing a little bit less of a green tint. Fruit finish is good to excellent this season. The fruit firmness has dropped a little over a pound from 15.8 lbs. last week to 14.7 lbs. this week. The starch removal index has moved along well with an average of 5.9 this week, up from 4.1 last week. The brix has also improved to 13.5 percent. Golden Delicious are eating very good and most blocks are ready for harvest for intermediate to long-term storage, with a few blocks being over-mature and fruit needing to be picked quickly and used for immediate or fall sales. Goldens are well ahead of Red Delicious this year at most farms.

Red Delicious were sampled for the third week of the season, with Red Chief being the most common strain tested. Red Delicious pick very easy this week, with some fruit drop starting to take place. The percentage of apples with internal ethylene levels greater than 0.2 ppm has doubled on Red Delicious to 88 percent. The color remains good at 90 percent and background color is starting to improve. The fruit remain firm at 15.6 lbs. The starch removal has moved a great deal from 2.3 last week to 4.0 this week with a brix of 11.5 percent. Earlier strains of Red Delicious are ready for harvest for long-term and controlled atmosphere storage. For fall and short-term storage, I am encouraging growers to wait a few more days for Red Delicious to lose a bit more of their starchiness.

Northern Spy were sampled for the second week of the season, with a more extensive sample taken this week than last week. The fruit continue to show a fair amount of internal ethylene, now averaging 90 percent. This is typical for Northern Spy. The color is about the same at 48 percent. The background color is starting to improve on Northern Spy and pressure has dropped a full pound this week, now standing at 18.3 lbs. The starch index has moved over a unit and a half over the last week and is now averaging 3.6, with some blocks at 5.0. The brix is also improved to 12.0 percent. A few blocks of Northern Spy are now ready for harvest for long-term and controlled atmosphere storage. For fall and immediate sales, I would encourage that growers wait for three to five days before beginning harvest of Northern Spy.

Idared were sampled for the second week of the season, again with a more extensive sample taken this week than last week. Internal ethylene levels of fruit testing greater than 0.2 ppm have remained steady at 43 percent, color has also remained steady at 78 percent and the background color is beginning to improve. The pressure remains firm at 15.6 lbs. and the starch removal has jumped from 1.8 last week to 3.1 this week, with a brix of 11.5 percent. In all of the blocks that I sampled this week, Idareds are not ready for harvest and I feel that they are less than a week away from being ready to harvest for long-term and controlled atmosphere storage harvest, and most likely about 10 days away for harvest for immediate or fall sales.

Crispen were sampled for the second week of the season with a more extensive sample taken this week than last week. The fruit finish is excellent this year, with only minor amounts of bitter pit being seen and no blister spot. The percentage of fruit with internal ethylene levels greater than 0.2 ppm has risen to 37 percent. The color or blush remains about the same at 23 percent and the background color is beginning to improve. The fruit remain very firm at 18.4 lbs. The starch index has raised almost two units from 1.8 last week to 3.7 this week, with a brix of 11.7 percent. There was just one block that I sampled where Crispen were ready for harvest for long-term storage. I feel that Crispen still needs another five to seven days to mature for harvest for immediate sales.

Fuji were sampled for the third week of the season with a more extensive sample taken this week than last week. The percentage of fruit with internal ethylene levels greater than 0.2 ppm has raised dramatically to 53 percent this week, the color remains about the same at 68 percent and the background color is beginning to improve. The fruit remain very firm at 17.5 lbs. The starch removal index has raised nearly two units for Fuji this week as well, with an average of 4.2. The brix has also improved to 12.5 percent. In the sampling that I did there was only one block that is ready for harvest for long-term and controlled atmosphere storage, the rest need about a week to 10 days before beginning harvest. Remember that there is a wide range of maturity of Fuji this season based on the strains.

Law Rome were sampled for the first week of the season to get an early glimpse of where they are at in terms of maturity. There is no fruit showing internal ethylene levels greater than 0.2 ppm, the color is good at 77 percent and background color averaging 2.0. The fruit remain very firm at 20.4 lbs. I was surprised to see starch index averaging 3.4 already, with a range of 3.0 to 5.0. The brix is 11.8 percent. Law Rome are not ready for harvest, but were much further along than what I thought they should be at this time of the year. I need to look at another sample next week to help zero-in on maturity, but I feel that it most likely will be about 10 days before it is ready.

Winesap were sampled for the first time of the season with 30 percent of the fruit showing internal ethylene levels greater than 0.2 ppm. Fruit color is mediocre at 45 percent and the background is still very green, averaging 3.2. The fruit remain very firm at 17.7 lbs. with a starch index of 1.8. The brix is 11.7 percent. Winesap are a long way away from being ready for maturity.

Braeburn were sampled for the first time this week, again just to get an early look at its maturity. Fifty percent of the fruit are showing internal ethylene levels greater than 0.2 ppm. The color is fairly good at 68 percent and background color still green at 3.0. The fruit are very firm at 19.2 lbs. and the starch was a surprising 3.0. The fruit brix is 10.6 percent. Braeburn are still very green and most likely are two weeks away from being mature.

Predicted harvest dates

Full bloom date Original Predicted Harvest Dates Revised Predicted Harvest Dates
Station McIntosh Jons Reds McIntosh Jons Reds McIntosh Jons Reds
Deerfield 5/13 5/15 5/17 9/15 9/29 10/5 9/20 10/4 10/10
Romeo 5/19 5/21 5/21 9/17 10/2 10/8 9/22 10/7 10/13

If you have any questions regarding this apple maturity report or apple harvest in southeast Michigan, don’t hesitate to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), call my office (810-244-8555) or cell (810-516-3800).

This report and project is made possible by the support of our sponsors, which include Valent Biosciences,Michigan Apple Committee, Michigan State Horticultural Society, MSU’s AgBioResearch and Michigan State University Extension. Southeast Michigan apple growers that are providing apples on a weekly basis include Spicer Orchards in Hartland, Erwin Orchards in South Lyon, Westview Orchards in Romeo and Hy’s Cider Mill in Romeo. Many thanks to the support of these growers.

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Northwest Michigan – Nikki Rothwell and Karen Powers, Michigan State University Extension

Northwest Michigan
Northwest Michigan

General comments

The Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station (NWMHRS) will be testing apples for maturity for 2011, and results will be sent via fax and email to past apple maturity list subscribers. Results will also be available at MSU Extension News for Agriculture and theNWMHRS Apple Maturity Report website. Reports for other regions around the state can be viewed at the MSU Extension News for Agriculture site.

We tested six varieties this week, but sample sizes are smaller than in past weeks due to harvest. Most Galas have been harvested across the region and Honeycrisp harvest is also moving along quickly. McIntosh harvest is wrapping up or has finished in most blocks. Jonagold harvest is anticipated to begin as soon as growers can harvest other varieties and the samples we tested show this variety as mature in most sites. With the high winds over the weekend, some blocks had apples blown to the ground.

Summary of northwest Michigan apple maturity samples taken on October 3, 2011

Variety Color % (range) Firmness lbs. pressure (range) Starch (range) Brix (range)
Gala (1) 84 17.7 3.7 11.4
Honeycrisp (2) 88 (81.5-94) 15.2 5.3 (4.9-5.6) 12.3
Jonagold (4) 80.5 (57-95) 17.1 (15.9-18.3) 4.8 (2.9-6.5) 13.7 (12.9-14.2)
Golden Delicious (2) 26 16.5 4.9 (2.5-7.3) 13.1
Northern Spy (1) 51 20.9 3.1 11.9
Idared (2) 88 (83.5-93) 17.3 3 12

Gala. Mature (one sample). Gala harvest is winding down across the region. Overall color has been good and Gala firmness is still relatively high.

Honeycrisp.Mature (two samples). Firmness in Honeycrisp is consistent with last week’s averages, and this week, our firmness for the two samples was 15.2 lbs. Starch numbers have jumped this week and both samples are reading in the mature range around 5. Color has improved from last week and the average is 88 percent, up from 79 percent last week. Many growers are finishing Honeycrisp harvest and many lost apples with the high winds.

Jonagold.Mature (four samples). Jonagolds are still relatively firm and the average is 17.1 lbs., which is down from 18.4 lbs. last week. Starch removal has increased this week and there was variability in the samples where the range was from 2.9 to 6.5. Brix numbers from the samples ranged from 12.9 to 14.2 and the samples also had tremendous variability in color, from 57 to 95 percent.

Golden Delicious. Approaching mature (two samples). There was a great variability in starch removal of the two Golden Delicious samples this week; one sample was a 2.5 while the other was over-mature with a reading of 7.3. Color, firmness and brix were similar in both samples.

Northern Spy. Immature (one sample). With only one sample, we do not have a good read on this variety, but many growers that grow Spys for the processing market are preparing to harvest them in the coming weeks. Firmness in our one sample was still over 20 lbs. of pressure, and the brix is rising at 3.1.

Idared. Immature (two samples). Of the two samples tested, they were consistent in our measurements other than a range in color. Firmness is at 17.3 lbs., brix readings were in the 12 range, and starch removal was an average of 3 for these samples.

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Grand Rapids Area
Grand Rapids Area

Grand Rapids Area – Phil Schwallier, Amy Irish-Brown, and Denise Ruwersma, Michigan State University Extension

General comments

Finally, the rain and cold has moved on. It took a bit of wind to move it along and that knocked a few apples off. Some hail was reported on the Ridge with the front that moved through late last week, but damage was minimal overall. The weather has taken a turn for beautiful and the next 10 days should be very busy in Grand Rapids area orchards.

There have been some more reports of russet and microcracks in various apple blocks. With the odd weather this season, it’s most likely related to environment.

Summary of Grand Rapids apple maturity samples tested October 4, 2011

Variety Predicted Harvest Date Avg. Ethylene (ppm) % Fruits with Ethylene over 0.2 ppm % Red Color (range) Firmness lbs pressure (range) Starch (range) Brix (range)
Cortland 25-Sep 39.3 100% 99% (90-100) 13.7 (12.5-15.2) 5.7 (4-6) 12.7 (12-13)
Jonagold 30-Sep 0.433 90% 61% (20-85) 13.8 (11.9-15.5) 7 12.4 (12-13)
Golden Delicious 4-Oct 0.088 20% 7.5 (0-15) 13.9 (11.5-16.9) 7 (6-8) 13
Red Delicious 6-Oct 0.56 40% 96.5%(85-100) 15.2 (12.2-18.5) 3.1 (2-4) 12 (11-13.5)
Cameo 8-Oct? 0.225 30% 95% (90-100) 15.5 (14.2-17.5) 4.2 (3-7) 13.3 (12.5-14.5)
Nova Spy 8-Oct? 30.1 100% 83% (70-95) 15.3 (12.5-19.5) 7.1 (7-8) 14.2 (14-14.5)
Northern Spy 10-Oct 23.4 90% 26% (0-50) 15.4 (13-18) 3.7 (2-5) 12.3 (11.5-13)
Mutsu 12-Oct 0.091 0% 1.5% (0-10) 18.2 (15.8-19.5) 2.9 (2-3) 11.3 (11-11.5)
Idared 12-Oct 0.433 40% 79.3 (45-95) 14.2 (12-17) 2.4 (2-4) 12.2 (12-12.5)
Fuji 27-Oct 0.42 55% 61% (10-95) 16.9 (14.2-19.5) 4.6 (3-7) 13.3 (12-16)
Granny Smith 1-Nov 0.0008 0% 33% (5-70) 17.6 (15-19.7) 5 11.6 (11-12)


Empire

Empire harvest is mostly complete for fruits being stored for long-term CA.

Cortland

Many Cortland have been harvested. All maturity numbers indicate they are still in the long-term CA storage window.

Jonathan

Jonathan harvest is mostly done. We did not find fruits to sample this week.

Jonagold

Jonagold have moved into the short-term CA storage window. All maturity indexes tell us they are mature.

Golden Delicious

The predicted harvest date is October 2 for Goldens. There is some early harvest occurring just in the last day or two. Firmness is excellent and the starch clearing is averaging 5. Brix are at 11 and could use a little improvement. The long-term CA window is just opening for Golden Delicious.

Red Delicious

All samples still indicate immature fruits, but they are just about there for long-term CA. The predicted date is October 6 and some fruits will be ready for long-term storage just ahead of that date in the Grand Rapids area. They eat a little starchy yet, but some harvest is just beginning. Growers should continue to keep a close eye on Red Delicious, especially those blocks that they know can be ahead of other areas. Data from sampled fruits indicate immaturity, but numbers have moved forward at a normal pace from last week – 40 percent of fruits are showing ethylene over 0.2 ppm (up from 30 percent last week); firmness is good at 15.2 (down from 17.3 pounds last week); starch clearing is 3.1, up from 2.3 last week; and brix has improved considerably from 9.9 last week to an average of 12 this week.

Cameo

Samples from this week show improvement in maturity compared to last week and, overall, they are still immature. Since this is a newer variety for Michigan, we guesstimate that its maturity will fall into the range of Red Delicious or just behind it. Cameo is still immature at this time.

Nova Spy and Northern Spy

Nova Spy is also fairly new to the Ridge area and thought to mature a few days ahead of Northern Spy. This week’s data continues to support this theory. Last week, Nova Spy was ready for long-term storage and this week they are moving to a short-term CA storage window. Northern Spy sampled this week are just entering the window for long-term CA storage and could be harvested when it fits in.

Mutsu

Mutsu were sampled for the second week in a row and are still immature. There has been only slight movement forward from last week. They are most likely about a week away from any early harvest.

Idared

Idared were sampled for the second week and readings continue to indicate that Idared maturity could be ahead of the predicted harvest date of October 12 for the general Grand Rapids area. They eat very starchy, but harvest could start for processing markets at any time.

Law Rome

Fruit are still immature, but like Idared, readings are surprisingly ahead of what is expected. The predicted harvest date for Rome in general is October 17 and Law Rome is usually slightly ahead of regular Rome. There is some bleeding of skin color into flesh.

Fuji (late season)

This is the second week of sampling for late season Fuji and they are making advancement in maturity faster than expected. Overall, they are still immature, but the numbers indicate they will most likely be ready for long-term CA well ahead of the October 27 predicted harvest date.

Granny Smith

Granny Smith were sampled for the first time this week and are still immature. There is almost no internal ethylene being produced and firmness is very hard. The starch clearing was a bit surprising at 5 and the brix are acceptable at 11.6. The normal harvest date for Granny Smith in the Grand Rapids area is around November 10. We are predicting they will be earlier this year, perhaps around November 1.

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