Washington apple farmers may see higher returns this season

WENATCHEE, Wash. -- Experts say Washington apple farmers may be in for higher returns with large crop amounts expected and a decline in apple production in Europe, Mexico and Canada.

The Washington State Tree Fruit Association's Aug. 1 forecast estimates this year's crop will yield 130.9 million, 40-pound boxes (18-kilogram boxes).

World apple market analyst and retired university agricultural economist Desmond O'Rourke tells the Capital Press that Europe's apple crop suffered a 21 percent decline because of frost damage and weather. According to O'Rourke, Mexico is experience a 30 percent drop in its apple production, and Canada's is down by 5 percent.

He says a weakening dollar may also improve the state's foreign market opportunities.