Mich. apple crop will be 90 percent smaller
LANSING — Michigan's apple crop will be about 90 percent 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.
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.
Cherry farms shrinking, but acreage steady
TRAVERSE CITY-- The number of Michigan cherry farms is shrinking, but the amount of acreage with cherry trees is holding steady.
State agriculture officials this month released the results of the 2011 inventory of state commercial fruit farms, conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Michigan Field office. It showed there were 400 sweet cherry farms in Michigan at the end of the 2011 season, compared to 470 counted during the 2006 inventory. There were 450 tart cherry farms, compared with 540 five years earlier.
Acreage in tart cherries was unchanged at 32,000 acres, as a drop in cherry orchards in southwest and west-central Michigan was offset by increased acreage in northwest Michigan. Some 17,900 acres of tart cherries, 56 percent of the state's total, were located in Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Manistee, Charlevoix and Antrim counties. Oceana County had the highest total in Michigan with 7,900 acres, followed by Leelanau's 7,800 acres.
Sweet cherry orchards covered 7,200 acres in 2011, down 300 acres from five years earlier. Leelanau led the state in sweet cherry acreage with 3,450 acres, followed by Grand Traverse with 1,500.
MSU to co-host 4th annual Hops Tour
TRAVERSE CITY — Michigan State University will co-host the fourth annual Northwest Michigan Hop Tour and Field Day on August 10.
The event is from 8 a.m. to 5 pm. with support from the Michigan Brewers Guild, Michigan Hop Alliance and Mission Table Restaurant.
Participants will visit the state's oldest commercial hopyard, MSU research trials, learn about picking and processing, and about brewery needs and the role of hops in beer production from Michigan Brewers Guild Executive Director Scott Graham.
The event includes lunch at Mission Table and registration is available at www.events.anr.msu.edu/hops2012.