West central Michigan apple maturity report – October 20, 2016

The end of the 2016 apple harvest is in sight.

General comments

The end of the 2016 west Michigan area apple harvest season is now within sight. Many growers got started with Fuji harvest this week and once this variety is in bins, there will be very little left to pick. Be careful in what harvest you have remaining.

This is the last formal apple maturity report for the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area for 2016. Many thanks to all the growers who donated fruit to our sampling efforts.

Rodent activity

Keep an eye out for rodent activity in your orchard blocks to help determine where highest pressure might be. High population blocks might need two management rodenticide applications compared to lower populations. Look for evidence of mice and rabbits feeding on fallen fruits in already harvested blocks and for trails in orchards and along ditches. As soon as harvest is complete, you could begin your rodent management program.

Individual variety results

Fuji harvest began in the general Grand Rapids area this week and for the most part, they are in the right condition for long-term controlled atmosphere (CA) storage right now. We don’t formally conduct taste testing in the lab, but we do take a bite now and then, and there is a definite improvement in overall flavor for Fuji this week; the starchiness is gone and they eat very well.

Water core increased in this week’s samples compared to last week, but overall it is still lower than expected given all the heavy rainfall in the recent weeks. Firmness continues to be excellent as is the Brix levels. Red color is not excellent this year, but has made a definite jump forward this week.

Fuji 2016 maturity sampling records

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm

Color % (range)

Background color (range)

Firmness lbs. pressure (range)

Starch (range)

Brix (range)

Oct. 4

40

92 (85-95)

2.8 (2-4)

17.5 (14.5-21.2)

3.5 (3-5)

13.4 (12-16)

Oct. 11

100

85 (60-99)

1.8 (1-2)

16 (13-21)

4.8 (1-6)

14.7 (13-16)

Oct. 18

100

89 (60-99)

2.3 (1-3)

16.3 (13-21)

5.2 (4-7)

14.2 (12-16)

Braeburn continue to be immature as expected. The predicted harvest date for Grand Rapids, Michigan, is Oct. 25, and the sample data indicates that is probably a good target. There aren’t many acres of Braeburn in the area, so harvest them when you are through with everything else next week sometime.

Braeburn 2016 maturity sampling records

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm

Color % (range)

Background color (range)

Firmness lbs. pressure (range)

Starch (range)

Brix (range)

Oct. 18

90

72 (15-90)

2.7 (2-3)

21.2 (18-24.5)

3 (2-5)

10.8 (10-11)

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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