Predicted peak 2009 apple harvest dates

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included. 


Apple maturity for 2009 is expected to be normal to seven days behind normal and on average seven days behind last year. Bloom dates were a bit early in the south part of the state to perhaps about normal for the north areas. Daily temperatures during and after bloom can be characterized as cold with some frost problems especially in the north part of the state. This results in a prediction of delayed maturity dates. The state overall has a moderate to heavy crop load. The post-bloom cold temperatures and heavy cropload will delay maturity. There also was extended bloom in some parts of the state, which will make harvest dates less accurate.

The slightly early bloom and cold weather following bloom, give us predicted harvest dates (Table 1) about normal to 10 days behind normal, but mostly perhaps one week behind normal picking dates. These predicted harvest dates are for the center or peak harvest of these varieties for CA storage. This year, the 2009 predicted harvest dates are compared to the rough normal harvest dates and last year’s predicted harvest dates. This year, the state will harvest apples roughly the same as last year for McIntosh to seven days behind last year predictions for other varieties (Table 2).

Hot temperatures during July and August will hasten the maturity of some varieties. Gala is notorious for ripening early when late summer temperatures are above normal. Other varieties are less prone to hot temperatures advancing fall maturity. Still other varieties ripen when cold temperatures occur at near harvest time.
The normal harvest dates for other varieties are listed in Table 3 for the Grand Rapids area. This year’s 2009 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.

Table 1. 2009 predicted peak harvest date

Full bloom date Predicted harvest date
Station McIntosh Jons Reds McIntosh Jons Reds Observer
SWMREC 3-May 5-May 6-May 4-Sep 24-Sep 2-Oct Shane
Deerfield 4-May 9-May 6-May 5-Sep 29-Sep 2-Oct Tritten
Romeo 9-May 12-May 13-May 12-Sep 3-Oct 8-Oct Tritten
Peach Ridge 9-May 12-May 12-May 12-Sep 4-Oct 10-Oct Schwallier
Ludington 17-May 20-May 20-May 21-Sep 11-Oct 17-Oct Danilovich
NWMHRS 18-May 21-May 22-May 24-Sep 8-Oct 15-Oct Rothwel

Table 2. 2009 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 6 -3 -4 9 -2 -4
Deerfield 3 -8 0 7 -4 -1
Romeo -2 -8 -6 0 -10 -9
Peach Ridge 2 -8 -6 2 -7 -7
Ludington -3 -8 -3 -2 -8 -8
NWMHRS -1 2 8 -2 5 4

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

Variety Normal date 2009 predicted date
Paulared 24-Aug 31-Aug
Gingergold 26-Aug 2-Sep
Gala 10-Sep 17-Sep
McIntosh 15-Sep 22-Sep
Honeycrisp 18-Sep 25-Sep
Empire 22-Sep 29-Sep
Jonathan 28-Sep 5-Oct
Jonagold 28-Sep 5-Oct
Golden Delicious 2-Oct 9-Oct
Red Delicious 5-Oct 12-Oct
Idared 10-Oct 17-Oct
Rome 15-Oct 22-Oct
Fuji 25-Oct 1-Nov
Braeburn 25-Oct 1-Nov
Goldrush 1-Nov 8-Nov

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