Strong Washington apple harvest forecast for this year

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state's apple growers are expected to bring in a strong crop of nearly 133 million boxes this year.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports ( ) that the Washington State Tree Fruit Association released its forecast Thursday showing an improvement from last year's 115 million boxes. The 2016 forecast still represents a drop from 2014's record of nearly 142 million boxes.

A standard box contains 40 pounds of apples.

The president of the tree fruit group, Jon DeVaney, says weather conditions have brought an earlier harvest this year and been favorable for the development of a good-quality crop.

Apple harvest typically starts in August and runs into November.

The forecast predicts Red Delicious and Gala apples will be the top two crops, with both together making up nearly half the harvest.