Northwest Michigan apple maturity report – October 16, 2013

The end of apple harvest in northwest Michigan is in sight.

The past week has been a great time for picking apples across northwest Michigan. Daytime temperatures reached into the mid-70s and sunshine has been abundant for the past seven days. Rain is expected to move into the region, but temperatures are still forecasted to be mild for the remainder of the week. Some growers are still harvesting their second and third pickings of Honeycrisp, but many growers have moved onto the Jonagolds and both Red and Golden Delicious. Labor is in short supply for many farms, but the numbers of pickers needed varies widely across the region. Lack of available housing has been cited as a potential issue for attracting workers for apple harvest in northwest Michigan. Winegrape growers have also been short on workers this season, and in this region, growers have typically shared pickers between apples and winegrapes.

This is the final Apple Maturity Report from the northwest region for the 2013 season. In the next few weeks, we will develop a brief survey for growers to gain insights on the usefulness of the Apple Maturity Reports and suggestions for future improvements. Look for the survey on the Michigan State University Extension Fruit & Nuts page.

Summary of northwest Michigan apple maturity samples taken on Oct. 15, 2013


Color %

Firmness lbs.
pressure (range)



Red Delicious

100 (100)

17.2 (14.5-22)

3.6 (2-6)

13.4 (12-15)


27 (0-70)

20.1 (18-23)

2.0 (2.0)

13.4 (12-13.8)

Golden Delicious

32 (0-70)

17.6 (15.5-22)

5.4 (2-8)

15.4 (14-17)

Ida Red

91 (80-100)

17.7 (15-21)

3.6 (3-5)

14.9 (14-15.2)

Jonagold. Mature for short-term CA (no samples). Many growers have started harvest of this variety this week. Jonagold size is large in many orchards.

Golden Delicious. Mature for long-term CA (three samples). Firmness is at 17.6 pounds, down from 18.2 pounds last week. Starch index is at 5.4, up from 3.8. Brix level is 15.4 and color (blush) is at 32 percent.

Red Delicious. Mature for long-term CA (three samples). Firmness is holding at 17.2 pounds with the starch index up to 3.6 from 3.3 last week. Brix level is up to 13.4 and the color is at 100 percent.

Ida Red. Mature for long-term CA (one sample). Firmness is holding 17.7 pounds. Starch index is holding at 3.6. Brix level is at 14.9 and the color is at 91 percent. Ida Reds have a sample size of one and growers should be aware that there might be variability across orchards compared with our single sample.

Crispin. Approaching mature (one sample). Firmness is at 20.1 pounds, starch index is at 2.0, brix level is at 13.4 and the color (blush) is at 27 percent. Again, a single sample should be noted.

Looking for more? View Michigan State University Extension’s Apple Maturity Program and Reports resource page for regional reports throughout the state and additional resources.

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