Apple Production Doing Well

Apple production is looking to be right on track for a normal bloom time and production level. This is according to Steve Louis, owner of Oakwood Fruit Farm in Richland Center. He says the spike of warm weather we had helped production to be on track with their normal bloom time around May 10. He explains how the crop is looking and what he and other growers are doing to prepare for the fall harvest.

“Having a normal bloom time around the fifth or tenth of May is pretty average and sets us up to be harvesting around the tenth of September or so,” says Louis. “That target can change a little bit depending on how hot the summer months get but right now, we’re set up to be right on target with the average times and crop production.”

Wisconsin apple growers had a successful apple season last year and Louis says that many had a good return bloom this year and should have an average or higher harvest again this year. 

In order to have a successful harvest, growers are keeping an eye on apple scab. Louis says Wisconsin has had controllable conditions for this pest as there hasn’t been long periods of rain and wetness that made them unable to manage the disease. 

“We are also very conscious of our pollinators this time of the year,” Louis adds. “Most apple growers have backed off doing any insecticide application until the boom is completely out of the orchard and either commercial bees or native bees are able to have other sources of food.”

Louis says while the supply chain may be getting a little better, they are still facing struggles of getting packaging supplies and chemicals. Many growers are switching to other products to offset the costs and are still able to meet their benchmarks.

The next steps for Louis and other apple growers is to assess their crop load and minimize it if needed. This not only helps for this year’s crop but next year’s as well as it allows them to have a set amount of buds. They are also working with their buyers already for that future harvest to ensure they have a market to supply. 

To learn more about Oakwood Fruit Farm or find other apple growers near you, visit the Wisconsin Apple Growers website.