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Serving: MI

Apple crop dinged by spring freeze

Jennifer Kiel apples on a branch in apple orchard
APPLE PROJECTION: The 2021 estimate of 18.25 million bushels is below average for the Michigan apple industry, and below the 22 million bushels harvested in 2020.
Michigan Bits: Crop budget tools available; CWD cases confirmed; career fair planned.

Michigan apple crop is projected at 18.25 million bushels (766.5 million pounds), as announced at the recent USApple Outlook meeting in Chicago. The 2021 estimate is below average for the Michigan apple industry, and below the 22 million bushels harvested in 2020.

“In late April, some Michigan apple-growing areas experienced nine or more hours in the 20 degrees F range, which was too cold for any of the delicate apple blossoms that had opened at that time,” says Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee. “Even with frost protection tools and the apple trees’ natural defense mechanisms, some of the fruit was lost. However, there will still be plenty of apples for consumers to enjoy this fall.”

There are more than 14.9 million apple trees in commercial production, covering 34,500 acres on 775 family-run farms in Michigan.

While the 2021 crop is smaller, the fruit on the trees is looking good, Smith says. In addition, a smaller crop this year could mean a larger one for 2022.

Crop Budget Estimator tools available for all crops

Michigan State University Extension recently released its latest version of Crop Budget Estimator tools that now offer planning assistance for all crops.

Whether raising fruits, vegetables or small grains, the new “all crops” version offers a starting point for budget planning needs and highlights key decision areas to consider while planning and growing crops.

It is a Microsoft Excel-based tool built around key areas to consider, and it combines it in one place, including marketing goals and yield goals, as well as breakevens on net farm income and cash flow.

The crop budget estimator also features an Optimization Tool. Using the budgets created in the estimator, the optimization tool will determine what combination of acres returns the highest profitability. Producers define:

  • maximum total operating costs
  • minimum acres of planned crops to be planted (for maintaining rotational needs)
  • total number of acres to be planted

For an expanded analysis, producers can also use tools designed for more specific crops. See them all at canr.msu.edu.

CWD confirmed at 2 farmed deer facilities

Two cases of chronic wasting disease have been confirmed at two separate farmed deer facilities, one in Mecosta County and one in Montcalm County, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The two infected deer, a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, were discovered through routine testing as part of the state’s CWD surveillance program for farmed deer.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. The disease can be transmitted directly from one animal to another, as well as indirectly through the environment.

Since 2008, and including these new cases, CWD has been detected at eight Michigan deer farms in the following counties: Kent, Mecosta (3), Montcalm (3) and Newaygo.

To date, while no free-ranging, white-tailed deer have tested positive for CWD in Mecosta County, the disease has been detected in 123 free-ranging deer from Montcalm County.

There have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals should not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.

More information about CWD can be found at Michigan.gov/CWD or Michigan.gov/MDARD-Cervid.

Ag employers wanted for career fair

The MSU Career in Agriculture and the Green Industries Fair (virtual) is set for 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28. The fair is ideal for employers who seek MSU’s top talent. For more information, go to the Employer Registration Link or email [email protected]

Employers should consider posting summer 2022 internships and entry-level positions before the career fair to advertise to students when they return to fall 2021 semester.  

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