Predicted 2012 apple harvest dates

A warm winter and early spring set predicted apple harvest dates between 14 and 30 days ahead of normal.

We have the least confidence in our predicted harvest dates for 2012 more than any other year of previous predictions. The winter was warm and the spring early with full bloom being as much as five weeks ahead of normal in the south and four weeks ahead of normal in the north. Numerous nights of frost and freeze events killed primary bloom (bloom born of 2-year-old wood and older) and most of any secondary bloom (bloom born of 1-year-old wood) in most of Michigan, particularly the south half. Some areas, however, had apples survive these adverse conditions. Frost and freeze events moved in around the bloom period for most of the state and, thus, most primary bloom were killed. These cold conditions stretched out the bloom period over two to three weeks. The predicted harvest dates are based on primary full bloom dates and not secondary bloom dates. Fruit of secondary bloom will mature up to seven days after these dates.

The 2012 predicted harvest dates (Table 1) are between 14 and 30 days ahead of normal. These predicted harvest dates are for the center or peak harvest of these varieties for CA storage. Since these predicted harvest dates are based on primary bloom, growers with bloom that survived the frost may mature this early. However, most frost-surviving fruit is from bloom at least a week later than these dates. Thus, the predicted dates have been adjusted by seven days later and listed in Table 2 (adjusted 2012 predicted date).

Table 1. 2012 predicted peak harvest dates

Full bloom date

Predicted harvest date


Station

McIntosh

Jons

Reds

McIntosh

Jons

Reds

Observer

SWMREC

3/31

4/2

4/3

8/13

9/2

9/8

Shane

Deerfield

4/12

4/15

4/15

8/19

9/13

9/19

Tritten

Romeo

4/17

4/19

4/20

8/23

9/15

9/21

Tritten

Peach Ridge

4/11

4/14

4/15

8/20

9/11

9/20

Schwallier

Hart

4/15

4/18

4/19

8/23

9/18

9/23

Schwallier

NWMHRS

4/25

4/30

5/1

8/30

9/20

9/27

Rothwell

Note: An earlier version of Table 1 showed incorrect results for the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC) Enviro-weather station in Berrien County due to a few days of missing data. The current version uses data from the nearby Bainbridge Enviro-weather station when necessary.

Table 2. 2012 predicted peak harvest dates compared to normal and last year

Days ahead of normal

Days ahead of last year

Station

McIntosh

Jons

Reds

McIntosh

Jons

Reds

SWMREC

29

24

24

34

29

28

Deerfield

20

8

13

27

16

16

Romeo

21

10

12

25

17

17

Peach Ridge

25

15

14

27

18

16

Ludington

26

15

21

28

16

17

NWMHRS

23

16

20

25

20

19

Gala is notorious for ripening early when late summer temperatures are above normal. Light crops will mature a few days earlier. Other varieties are less prone to hot temperatures advancing fall maturity. Still, other varieties ripen when cold temperatures occur near harvest time.

The normal harvest dates for other varieties are listed in Table 3 for the Grand Rapids area. This year’s 2012 predicted dates and adjusted predicted dates are a rough estimate based on the McIntosh, Jonathan and Red Delicious predicted dates. Other areas of the state should adjust non-predicted varieties based on their own history. Using a 30 days before harvest 2012 predicted harvest date to time applications of ReTain should be adjusted a few days later for fruit from secondary bloom and heavy crop-loads. Light crop-loads, hot summer weather and fruit from primary bloom should be adjusted earlier.

Table 3. Normal peak harvest dates for varieties for the Grand Rapids area

Variety

Normal date

2012 predicted date

Adjusted 2012 predicted date

Paulared

8/24

7/29

8/5

Gingergold

8/26

7/31

8/7

Gala

9/10

8/15

8/22

McIntosh

9/15

8/20

8/27

Honeycrisp

9/18

8/23

8/30

Empire

9/22

8/27

9/3

Jonathan

9/28

9/11

9/18

Jonagold

9/28

9/11

9/18

Golden Delicious

10/2

9/15

9/22

Red Delicious

10/5

9/20

9/27

Idared

10/10

9/25

10/2

Rome

10/15

9/30

10/7

Fuji

10/25

10/10

10/17

Braeburn

10/25

10/10

10/17

Goldrush

11/1

10/17

10/24

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