2014 Washington apple crop 3 percent less than estimate but still a record 150 million boxes

The 2014 apple crop came in 3 percent less than forecast but is still a record 150 million boxes, the Washington State Tree Fruit Association said in a report Tuesday on the harvest.

It easily surpassed the record of 129 million boxes set in 2012, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported (http://bit.ly/1B998DN ). The fresh fruit crop is measured in 40-pound boxes.

Packers have shipped 35 million boxes, leaving 115 million boxes in storage to supply the market into next year.

The final tally is shy of the forecast of 155 million boxes because of a November freeze and a port slowdown that prompted many packing companies to divert more fruit to processors for apple sauce or juice, said Jon DeVaney, president of the association.

Year-to-year, the state's apple industry exports about one-third of its fresh crop. International news is affecting exports. Russia has banned all U.S. agricultural products over disagreements in the Ukraine. China has agreed to accept Red Delicious and Golden Delicious imports from America for the first time in two years.

The state's apple crop was worth $2.25 billion in market value in 2012, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture census.

The Tree Fruit Association estimates apples have a $7.5 billion overall impact on the Washington state economy.

Washington is the nation's leading apple producer. Yakima County is the highest-producing county in the country.


Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic, http://www.yakimaherald.com