East Michigan apple maturity report – Sept. 25, 2019

Jonathan and Jonagold are ready for harvest, and a few early strains of Golden Delicious on early sites are ready to be spot picked. Gala harvest has wrapped up at most farms, except those treated with ReTain.

General apple harvest comments

Apple harvest continues at a rapid pace across the region. This week, growers are starting to harvest Jonathan and Jonagold. While most Golden Delicious blocks are not ready yet, a few early strains and early sites are ready for a light first picking. Most growers have finished Gala harvest. This year’s Gala crop looked spectacular at harvest, with good color and size. SnowSweet and Snow are also ready for harvest.

The final picking of Honeycrisp is also taking place this week, as many growers were waiting for better color for this third or fourth picking. Some of these late harvested Honeycrisp are over-mature and need to be moved soon, as they will not store well. In this same group of Jonathan, Jonagold and Goldens, Empire and Cortland seem to be maturing slowly this season and are not ready for harvest quite yet. I also tested several other varieties to get an early read on their maturity, including Red Delicious, CandyCrisp, Idared, Northern Spy, Crispin and even Fuji. None are close to being ready to begin harvest.

Weather conditions have generally been good for harvest over the last week. Harvest labor supply has generally been adequate thus far this season.

With most Gala already harvested and available for cider making, cider makers are smoothing out their blend of apple varieties and are working toward a more fall tasting cider. Jonathan will be another nice addition to cider as it is becoming available for blending. Demand for cider has been excellent so far this season.

The fourth apple harvest report for the 2019 apple harvest season follows with more details on the 13 varieties tested this week, six of which are new this week. Our predicated apple harvest dates for east Michigan are three to four days later than the normal dates. Here is the link for the 2019 Apple Predicted Harvest Dates article that was emailed to area growers as well as being published on our Michigan State University Extension Fruit & Nuts website in August.

Apple maturity in east Michigan for apples harvested Sept. 23

Variety

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

SnowSweet

80 (60-100)

69 (53-84)

18.5 (17.2-19.8)

7.8 (7.6-7.9)

15.1

Empire

30 (0-80)

75 (60-92)

18.9 (17.9-19.9)

2.6 (1.9-3.0)

13.2

Snow

100 (100-100)

54 (40-70)

17.7 (14.5-19.5)

4.3 (2.0-8.0)

13.8

Jonathan

47 (20-100)

97 (94-99)

17.6 (16.2-18.9)

4.3 (2.9-6.0)

14.5

Jonagold

53 (20-80)

50 (31-78)

17.9 (17.3-18.6)

4.3 (3.7-5.4)

14.6

Cortland

13 (0-40)

70 (53-87)

17.4 (16.9-17.9)

1.4 (1.0-1.7)

13.7

Golden Delicious

5 (0-20)

4 (0-15)

18.1 (16.7-20.4)

3.0 (1.0-5.0)

14.0

Red Delicious

10 (0-40)

93 (70-100)

18.6 (17.2-19.4)

2.1 (1.9-2.4)

11.8

CandyCrisp

0 (0-0)

7 (0-10)

18.9 (16.5-22.0)

2.0 (1.0-3.0)

13.7

Idared

0 (0-40)

56 (48-65)

18.8 (17.9-20.1)

1.6 (1.5-1.9)

13.2

Northern Spy

40 (0-80)

31 (30-32)

22.2 (20.3-24.1)

1.4 (1.0-1.8)

12.7

Crispin

20 (0-40)

3 (1-5)

21.0 (20.3-21.6)

2.1 (2.0-2.1)

12.5

Fiji

0 (0-0)

29 (20-40)

20.1 (17.5-23.0)

1.9 (1.0-2.0)

13.1

Individual variety results

SnowSweet

SnowSweet was sampled for the second week of the season. While I did not include this more detailed description of SnowSweet maturity in last week’s report, I did discuss it in the general comments section. I was also able to find a few other growers with SnowSweet so that I could expand my sample size this week. Based on last and this week’s data, I now believe SnowSweet was ready to harvest the week before last, or around Sept. 13.

The percentage of fruit with internal ethylene levels over 0.2 parts per million (ppm) is up from 0% last week to 80% this week. Fruit color is generally good, averaging 69%. The average starch index is essentially the same as last week, 7.8. Most of the descriptions I found on SnowSweet stated that it matures two weeks after Honeycrisp, but based on two years’ worth of data on SnowSweet, I believe it matures just a few days after Honeycrisp.

SnowSweet maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 16

0 (0-0)

70 (50-80)

17.9 (16.0-21.0)

8.0 (8.0-8.0)

13.7

Sept. 23

80 (60-100)

69 (53-84)

18.5 (17.2-19.8)

7.8 (7.6-7.9)

15.1

Empire

Empire was sampled for the second week of the season. Based on this week’s data, Empire seem to be maturing very slowly this year and are still not ready to begin harvest. The predicted harvest date for Empire was Sept. 24, or yesterday. Thirty percent the of fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure is 18.9 pounds. The average starch index is up slightly from 2.3 last week to 2.6 this week.

Empire maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 16

0 (0-0)

73 (66-82)

20.1 (17.6-22.1)

2.3 (1.8-3.1)

12.6

Sept. 23

30 (0-80)

75 (60-92)

18.9 (17.9-19.9)

2.6 (1.9-3.0)

13.2

Snow

Snow was sampled this week; I was able to find a few orchards that still grow this very old variety. It is believed that Snow is a parent of McIntosh. In all my years checking apple maturity, this is the first time I have reported on this variety. Many of the well-heeled apple growers that are familiar with Snow have shared with me over the years that it usually matures around Jonathan or Empire timing. All fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure is 17.7 pounds. The average starch index is 4.3 this week.

Snow maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 23

100 (100-100)

54 (40-70)

17.7 (14.5-19.5)

4.3 (2.0-8.0)

13.8

Jonathan

Jonathan was sampled for the third week of the season, and again this week I expanded the number of blocks tested. Based on three weeks’ worth of data, Jonathan are ready to begin harvest. The predicted harvest date for Jonathan is Sept. 27, and as I said in last week’s report, they will be mature by this date.

Forty-seven percent of fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm. Fruit color is excellent at 97%. The average starch index is up from 3.0 last week to 4.3 this week. We usually look for a starch index for Jonathan to be around 3.5. I also sampled the Jonee strain of Jonathan this week, and as expected, its maturity is a few days ahead of the Anderson strain of Jonathan.

Jonathan maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 9

0 (0-0)

86 (86-86)

20.5 (20.5-20.5)

1.8 (1.8-1.8)

12.2

Sept. 16

13 (0-40)

88 (68-98)

20.5 (19.3-22.7)

3.0 (2.3-3.9)

13.5

Sept. 23

47 (20-100)

97 (94-99)

17.6 (16.2-18.9)

4.3 (2.9-6.0)

14.5

Jonagold

Jonagold was sampled for the second week of the season. Based on two week’s worth of data, Jonagold are ready to begin harvest. Most farms have a very short crop of Jonagold this season, so much so that at some farms they don’t have enough for me to even pick the dozen or so apples I need for a sample to test for maturity. The predicted harvest date for Jonagold is Sept. 27, and like Jonathan I thought they would be mature by or close to this date.

Fifty-three percent of fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure is 17.9 pounds. The average starch index is up from 3.0 last week to 4.3 this week. We usually look for a starch index for Jonagold to be around 3.5.

Jonagold maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 16

40 (0-100)

48 (29-78)

19.5 (17.3-21.5)

3.0 (2.4-3.5)

14.4

Sept 23

53 (20-80)

50 (31-78)

17.9 (17.3-18.6)

4.3 (3.7-5.4)

14.6

Cortland

Cortland was sampled for the second week of the season. Based on two weeks’ worth of data, Cortland are maturing very slowly this season and are still not ready to begin harvest. The predicted harvest date for Cortland is Sept. 29, and I do not believe it will be mature by this date. This week, 13% of fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure is 17.4 pounds. The average starch index is only 1.4 this week.

Cortland maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 16

0 (0-0)

73 (63-90)

17.1 (16.1-18.2)

1.2 (1.0-1.5

13.3

Sept. 23

Sept. 23

13 (0-40)

70 (53-87)

17.4 (16.9-17.9)

1.4 (1.0-1.7)

13.7

Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious was sampled for the second week of the season. Based on two weeks’ worth of data, a few Golden sites and strains are ready to begin harvest, but most strains, including Smoothee, need a few more days to mature, maybe over the weekend or early next week. The predicted harvest date for Golden Delicious is Oct. 3, but they will be ready for harvest before this date.

Only 5% of fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure remains unchanged at 18.1 pounds. The average starch index is up from 2.0 last week to 3.0 this week. If growers are looking for a nice blush on Goldens, they need to delay harvest.

Golden Delicious maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 16

7 (0-20)

11 (6-14)

18.1 (17.4-18.7)

2.0 (1.0-2.6)

13.4

Sept. 23

5 (0-20)

4 (0-15)

18.1 (16.7-20.4)

3.0 (1.0-5.0)

14.0

Red Delicious

Red Delicious was sampled for the first week of the season to get an early read on its maturity. Most of the Reds tested this week are Redchief strain, with a few Scarlet Spur. Based on one week’s worth of data, Red Delicious are not ready to begin harvest. The predicted harvest date for Red Delicious is Oct. 5, and I believe they will be mature by or close to this date.

This week, 10% of fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure is 18.6 pounds. The average starch index is 2.1 this week. We usually look for a starch index for Red Delicious to be around 2.5 to 3.0.

Red Delicious maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 23

10 (0-40)

93 (70-100)

18.6 (17.2-19.4)

2.1 (1.9-2.4)

11.8

CandyCrisp

CandyCrisp was sampled for the first week of the season to get an early read on its maturity. So far, this is not a widely planted apple variety in east Michigan. Based on one week’s worth of data, CandyCrisp are not ready to begin harvest at this time. The predicted harvest date for CandyCrisp is Oct. 10, but based on only one week of data, I believe that it will be mature before this date. None of fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure is 18.9 pounds. The average starch index is 2.0 this week. While the apple had a brix or sugar content of 13.7 precent, it still eats very green.

CandyCrisp maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 23

0 (0-0)

7 (0-10)

18.9 (16.5-22.0)

2.0 (1.0-3.0)

13.7

Ida Red

Ida Red was sampled for the first week of the season to get an early read on its maturity. Based on one week’s worth of data, Ida Red are not ready to begin harvest. The predicted harvest date for Idared is Oct. 11, and I believe they will be mature by or close to this date. None of the fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure is 18.8 pounds. The average starch index is only 1.6 this week. We usually look for a starch index for Idared to be around 3.5.

Idared maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 23

0 (0-40)

56 (48-65)

18.8 (17.9-20.1)

1.6 (1.5-1.9)

13.2

Northern Spy

Northern Spy was sampled for the first week of the season to get an early read on its maturity. Based on one week’s worth of data, Northern Spy are not ready to begin harvest. The predicted harvest date for Northern Spy is Oct. 12, and I believe they will be mature by or close to this date. Forty percent of fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure is 22.2 pounds. The average starch index is only 1.4 this week.

Northern Spy maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 23

40 (0-80)

31 (30-32)

22.2 (20.3-24.1)

1.4 (1.0-1.8)

12.7

Crispin

Crispin or Mutsu was sampled for the first week of the season to get an early read on its maturity. Based on one week’s worth of data, Crispin are not ready to begin harvest. The predicted harvest date for Crispin is Oct. 13, and I believe they will be mature before this date. Twenty percent of fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure is 21.0 pounds. The average starch index is only 2.1 this week.

Crippin maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 23

20 (0-40)

3 (1-5)

21.0 (20.3-21.6)

2.1 (2.0-2.1)

12.5

Fuji

Fuji was sampled for the first week of the season to get an early read on its maturity. Based on one week’s worth of data, Fuji are not ready to begin harvest. The predicted harvest date for Fuji is Oct. 23, but I believe they will be mature well ahead of this date. None of fruit tested had internal ethylene levels over 0.2 ppm and the pressure is 20.1 pounds. The average starch index is 1.9 this week.

Fuji maturity sampling for the harvest season

Sample date

% Fruits with ethylene over 0.2 ppm (range)

Color % (range)

Firmness lbs. (range)

Starch (range)

Brix %

Sept. 23

0 (0-0)

29 (20-40)

20.1 (17.5-23.0)

1.9 (1.0-2.0)

13.1

Predicted peak fresh market apple harvest dates for East Michigan

Each year we publish predicted harvest dates for many locations across the state. These predicted harvest dates are based on a long-established formula using the bloom date and temperatures for 30 days post-bloom.

The following table has predicted apple harvest dates for east Michigan. It has been expanded to include more apple varieties and lists only one date for the entire east Michigan region, which is hard to do! You can adjust these predicted harvest dates based on your actual bloom dates or on the typical harvest dates at your farm.

These dates are an estimate and will be affected by the apple strain, rootstock, crop load, fertility, soil type, and other factors including weather this season. Keep a close eye on these weekly Apple Harvest Updates for possible revisions of these dates.


Normal and 2019 peak harvest dates for apple varieties for East Michigan

Variety

Normal date

2019 predicted date

Paula Red

8/22

8/25

Zestar

8/22

8/22

Gingergold

8/23

9/26

Gala

9/8

9/11

McIntosh

9/13

9/16

Early Fiji

9/14

9/17

Honeycrisp

9/16

9/20

Empire

9/20

9/24

Jonathan

9/23

9/27

Jonagold

9/23

9/27

Cortland

9/25

9/29

Golden Delicious

9/29

10/3

Red Delicious

10/1

10/5

CandyCrisp

10/5

10/10

Idared

10/6

10/11

Northern Spy

10/8

10/12

Crispin (Mutsu)

10/9

10/13

Rome

10/11

10/15

Autumn Gala

10/17

10/21

EverCrisp

10/19

10/23

Fuji

10/22

10/26

Braeburn

10/23

10/28

Winesap

10/26

10/30

Goldrush

10/31

11/4

*Firmness is measured with a mechanical 11-millimeter wide probe inserted into the pared flesh of a fruit to a distance of 8 millimeters. Starch index is measured on equatorial cross section of an apple stained with iodine solution and rated using the Cornell University starch-iodine index chart for apples on a 1-8 scale (Predicting Harvest Date Window for Apples by Blanpied and Silsbey, Cornell Extension Bulletin 221.)

 


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