Apple farmers expect record-breaking harvest

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LANSING — Michigan apple growers expect to pick a record crop this year.

The Michigan Apple Committee is forecasting a harvest of 31-million bushels.

That would be an increase of 7-million bushels over 2015 and the biggest ever for the state, which averages about 22.8-million bushels annually.

Diane Smith, executive director of the producer-funded cooperative, said Michigan's output has been rising steadily. She credits the rising output to technological advances and an increasing number of growers planting "high-density" orchards, which have 1,000 or more trees per acre.

The state has more than 11.3-million apple trees in commercial production on 825 farms.

Michigan apples are typically shipped from mid August through June.

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