Apple Crop Destroyed. 90 Percent loss in Michigan, Ontario due to Bizarre Spring. Deniers: “More Co2 Needed”.

June 30, 2012

Detroit Free Press:

LANSING — Michigan’s apple crop will be about 90% smaller than usual this year because of spring weather damage.

The Michigan Apple Committee said Thursday that growers, shippers and other industry insiders predict about 3 million bushels will be harvested. In a typical year, the state produces 20 million to 23 million bushels, pumping up to $900 million into the economy.

The committee says it’s the biggest apple crop loss since the 1940s.

Apple trees bloomed early because of an extraordinary heat wave in March. Then came a series of frosts and freezes that killed most of the blossoms. Some areas suffered more than others.

Gov. Rick Snyder has requested federal disaster assistance for Michigan’s fruit growers. The Legislature has passed a bill offering low-interest loans for farmers with ruined crops.

CBC Hamilton:

It’s worse than feared for apple farmers in Ontario.

Ontario Apple Growers association chair Brian Gilroy says that it looks like Ontario apple farmers have lost about 88 per cent of their crop this year.

“It’s devastating,” said Gilroy. “The estimates that we gave of there being 20 per cent of the crop left is probably optimistic. We’re looking at probably 12 per cent.”

Warm weather in February and March led to early blossoms that were, in April, burned by frost. A killer blow.

The Ontario Apple Growers surveyed apple farmers in the province. Of more than 220 farmers, only 37 reported back, but the numbers don’t look good.

“On my farm, there’s hardly a McIntosh there,” said Gilroy. ”There’s a large Spy block. You’ll walk by four or five apple trees without seeing anything. The real conundrum is what to do with such a spotty crop as that.”

Gilroy estimated that on his farm, a tree that might normally produce 12 to 15 bushels will only produce one this season.

That also means fewer people needed to pick apples. Gilroy said the damage this season could mean 600 fewer jobs in the Georgian Bay area alone where he farms apples.

Brenda Fletcher of Fletcher Fruit Farm in Binbrook said of the 23 varieties she usually sells, only four or five will produce enough to make it to the market.

Once she gets to the market on Ottawa Street, she’s not sure how long she can stay.

“We may lose our market for the winter,” Fletcher said. “We’re hoping to let our customers know we will be back next year. It was just the weather.”

8 Responses to “Apple Crop Destroyed. 90 Percent loss in Michigan, Ontario due to Bizarre Spring. Deniers: “More Co2 Needed”.”

  1. rayduray Says:

    There’s a few more harbingers of an impending food crisis in the news these days.

    1) The Midwest and Plains States have just gone through a severe heat event. Much of the corn crop is in a critical period of development, “tasseling”, and that relies on moderate temperatures and available soil moisture. Both of which are absent. Agrimoney has the story:–4695.html

    2) The Russian farm belt is also suffering from drought conditions:–4680.html

    The UK Guardian newspaper maintains a useful page on flooding:

    Right now there’s some crop damage in Australia, Assam in India and the UK due to flooding.

    The Brahmaputra River is currently disrupting agriculture throughout much of its lower basin:

    U.S. corn and wheat stocks are down 14% Year-on-Year as of June 1:

    Things are going to get interesting if we get another year in the U.S. Midwest like we had in 1988.

  2. […] Great Lakes Fruit Crop Devastated Posted on June 30, 2012 by Michael Tobis • 0 CommentsAs many worried at the time, the bizarre summer-like warmth of last March in the Great Lakes region was followed by ordinary April frosts, causing enormous damage to prematurely budding fruit crops. Peter Sinclair has the story. […]

  3. otter17 Says:

    If one takes the view that CO2 is the only variable that affects plant growth, then the contrarians may have a point. Alas, they don’t have a point, at all.

  4. Blistering drought threatens Kentucky crops

    In Western Kentucky it is so hot and dry that in some places even the weeds won’t grow.

    “I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Mike Smith, the University of Kentucky Extension’s agricultural agent for Henderson County. “… We’ve got places in the western part of the county, the crop is gone.”|newswell|text|Home|p&nclick_check=1

    • MorinMoss Says:

      That must be the worst method of weed control I’ve ever heard of.
      Even RoundUp would be better.

  5. Martin Lack Says:

    I would recommend that anyone who remains “sceptical” regarding the primary cause of this “unusual weather” should read the extract of Lester Brown’s book, World on the Edge: How to prevent environmental and economic collapse, on the website of the Earth Policy Institute. It explains a lot.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      For a long time, my preferred spelling was “skeptic” but I’m coming around to using “sceptic”.

      Thanks to the attitudes, tactics, and behavior of the most influential on the other side of the argument, I think it won’t be long before I start spelling it as “septic”

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