Hello Con - we did not meet on the NZ trip as we were on different sessions, 
I’d hoped to find and greet you on the overlapping day but did not for various 

In the midwestern US (I am located in Indiana, south of the major apple growing 
region in Michigan), spring, altho well ahead of 100 year averages, was as late 
as it’s been in a decade or more - very good for finishing winter orchard work 
and for avoiding spring frost damage. Once the temperature warmed it stayed 
warm. Rainfall has been adequate and consistent. There was adequate pollination 
weather, fruit set is good, and chemical thinning worked about as well as it 
ever does. We are a couple days away from completing hand thinning/adjustment 
of the crop, a pleasant and doable job this year. Temperatures have been 
moderate for the most part, with two short periods of hot days. 

Fruit size is large, and finish looks good.  Foliage is healthy and so suggests 
quality/brix will be good. There is little stress exhibited. We have harvested 
most of the few ’Transparent’ apples we grow (earliest variety), and will skim 
a few ‘Pristine’ by the end of this week.  Fruit season starts for real, kind 
of, next week with peaches and a couple of varieties of early apples. Looks 
very good out there, tho it also looks like a lot of work coming up.  

I think you have not received any replies partially because there is still time 
for disaster and to brag on the favorable weather we’ve experienced is to 
invite some extreme event to occur. We’ve received nearly 2” of rain in the 
last 72 hours during a series of thunderstorms. It’s been great here, while 
others not that far away have had wind and hail and even a couple of small 
tornados within 50 miles. So uncertainty remains and the crop is not in the 
bins (or better yet, sold) yet. 

While I mostly hear positive reports from the eastern half of the US associated 
with the size and condition of this years crop, the apple industry is one of 
the targets in this ill-advised trade war we have started.  There is still 
significant inventory from 2017 to move and it seem likely the 2018 crop will 
be rather large. Exports have slowed to a crawl (so I hear). ‘Increasing 
domestic consumption’ is heard at meetings, but it seems unlikely that we can 
offset the lack of overseas markets that way, particularly moving the 20th 
century varieties that have fast fallen out of favor here. 

So there I said it, looks like a great apple year, we are having great weather, 
if disaster occurs I’m blaming you for asking the question. 

David Doud
retail grower, Indiana 

> On Jul 20, 2018, at 5:30 PM, Con.Traas <con.tr...@ul.ie> wrote:
> Hello all,
> While I met some of you on the IFTA trip to New Zealand in February, there 
> are others on the list here that I have not interacted with in many years.
> We have had an exceptional summer (not necessarily in a good way) here in 
> Ireland, which I thought might be interesting to report on.
> Following one of the latest (and wettest) spring periods I can remember here, 
> the weather turned warm and dry in April, and has stayed like this pretty 
> much since then.
> Our typical summer weather in Ireland is of passing weather fronts (bringing 
> light rain and showers), with occasional periods of high pressure giving 
> settled weather. With this type of alternating weather pattern, we might 
> expect 20mm (a bit less than 1 inch) of rain per week on average.
> This year, since May 11th (10 weeks ago), we have had 25mm of rain in total, 
> or about 1/8 of normal. Soil moisture deficits have been reading as maximum 
> on the scale for about 6 weeks now, so clearly soils are very dry.
> In addition, we had a number of weeks of weather close to (and even above) 30 
> degrees C / 85F which is pretty unheard of here.
> While such weather is normal (and desirable) in many parts of the World where 
> apples are grown, very few growers here irrigation in their orchards, as the 
> last time there was a drought like this (though not quite as severe) was in 
> 1976.
> Luckily on my own farm, because we also grow soft fruit, I have drip 
> irrigation in place in 3/4 of our orchards. In other farms I have visited, 
> fruit size is inhibited by drought, and with little sign of significant 
> rainfall, the worry now is not just for the crops of this year, but stress 
> causing a reduction in return bloom.
> Having spoken with some climatic experts, they tell me that the unusual 
> settled weather here is caused by a weakening of the jet stream which 
> normally directs a series of cold fronts and intermittent high pressure 
> systems across Ireland. The jet stream is driven by the temperature gradient 
> between the cold of the arctic, and warmth in lower latitudes. As the arctic 
> is much warmer than normal (in Sweden they recorded 85F in the arctic circle 
> recently), the jet stream is too weak and wavy to drive the weather fronts in 
> the usual manner. And consequently we are stuck in a dry zone, while other 
> locations that should also have mixed weather, are stuck in wet zones.
> From what I am hearing in other parts of Europe, the weather is also very 
> unusual, and again causing problems for fruit growers and regular farmers.
> I would be interested to hear from others how the summer is progressing.
> Con Traas
> The Apple Farm, Moorstown, Cahir, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
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