Northwest Michigan apple maturity report – September 28, 2016

Apple harvest is moving along quickly despite wet conditions. Quality continues to improve, and apples from this region have excellent color.

General apple harvest comments

Apple harvest is moving quickly, and many of our traditional apple maturity orchards have been picked. Color continues to develop nicely, and growers that are waiting to pick for color are pleased with the development in the past week. Firmness is still holding, and Brix levels are increasing. Some Honeycrisp in certain blocks have had some drop, and this variety’s maturity continues to move quickly this season.

Apple maturity in northwest Michigan for apples harvested Sept. 27

VarietyColor % (range)Firmness Lbs. (range)Starch (range)Brix %
Gala 94 (90-98) 18.8 (18.3-19.3) 3.6 (3.2-3.9) 12.7
McIntosh 89 (88-91) 15.7 (15.2-16.1) 2.7 (1.7-3.7) 11.9
Honeycrisp 72 (49-85) 14.9 (14.5-15.2) 5.3 (4.4-6.0) 13.2
Jonagold 74 (65-92) 17.4 (16.9-18.5) 2.9 (2.6-3.3) 13.2
Ida Red 68 (61-76) 17.5 (17.1-17.8) 2.8 (1.4-4.2) 12

Individual variety results

Gala was sampled for the third time this season, and the firmness remains high on all samples again this week as it has in the past two weeks. Starch index rose into the mid-3’s this week, and they are eating much better. Brix levels rose slightly from 12 to an average of 12.7 from two samples. Color on the strains of Gala tested look excellent, and color is close to 100 percent. 

Gala 2016 maturity sampling for the harvest season

Date of sampleColor % (range)Firmness Lbs. (range)Starch (range)Brix %
Sept. 13 85 (77-89) 20.6 (20.3-20.8) 1.6 (1.5-1.8) 11.2
Sept. 20 93 (85-99) 18.9 (17.5-19.7) 3.1 (2.9-3.4) 11.9
Sept. 27 94 (90-98) 18.8 (18.3-19.3) 3.6 (3.2-3.9) 12.7

Some McIntosh blocks have been harvested in the past week, and firmness is dropping on this variety; we tested two samples, and the average firmness was 15.7. Brix levels rose slightly this week, and color is coming along on these older strains of McIntosh that we tested. This variety is also eating much better this week.

McIntosh 2016 maturity sampling for the harvest season

Date of sampleColor % (range)Firmness Lbs. (range)Starch (range)Brix %
Sept. 13 69 (54-91) 15.9 (14.2-17.6) 2.2 (1.0-3.0) 11.6
Sept. 20 83 (62-100) 15.6 (13.6-17.0) 3.1 (1.4-5.1) 11.3
Sept. 27 89 (88-91) 15.7 (15.2-16.1) 2.7 (1.7-3.7) 11.9

Honeycrisp maturity has moved along quickly this season, and two weeks ago this variety had low starch indices and did not eat well. This week and even last week, Honeycrisp maturity has advanced, and the fruit is at peak maturity in some samples. Most starch indices are in the 4.5-6 range, and we had an average starch index of 5.3 for three samples. Many growers are still waiting for this variety to develop more color, and blocks that were well-pruned have excellent color, whereas fruit on bigger trees still need more color. Honeycrisp are also eating well, and this variety has great flavor in most blocks here in the north.

Honeycrisp 2016 maturity sampling for the harvest season

Date of sampleColor % (range)Firmness Lbs. (range)Starch (range)Brix %
Sept. 13 67 (56-79) 16.4 (15.6-17.4) 2.4 (1.6-3.4) 12.6
Sept. 20 78 (60-89) 16.6 (15.0-17.2) 3.7 (1.4-5.5) 13
Sept. 27 72 (49-85) 14.9 (14.5-15.2) 5.3 (4.4-6.0) 13.2

Jonagolds were tested for this first time this week. Firmness is averaging 17.4 in three samples tested. Starch index is an average of 2.9, and brix is 13.2. This variety is sizing nicely in most blocks, but color is at 74.3 percent.

Jonagold 2016 maturity sampling for the harvest season

Date of sampleColor % (range)Firmness Lbs. (range)Starch (range)Brix %
Sept. 27 74 (65-92) 17.4 (16.9-18.5) 2.9 (2.6-3.3) 13.2

We also tested Ida Red for this first time this week. We collected samples from two blocks, and firmness is an average of 17.5. Similar to Jonagold, Ida Red starch index is an average of 2.8. This variety still eats very green, and the brix levels range from 10.6 to 13.4. Color on this variety is also still developing.

Ida Red 2016 maturity sampling for the harvest season

Date of sampleColor % (range)Firmness Lbs. (range)Starch (range)Brix %
Sept. 27 68 (61-76) 17.5 (17.1-17.8) 2.8 (1.4-4.2) 12

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

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