Contact: Justin Finkler, Operations Manager
Sparta, Michigan – Conditions are set for Riveridge to have a bountiful apple crop again this year, according to company president Don Armock.
Riveridge has adopted an extensive, science-based tech program of forcing and testing buds in late winter and early spring to determine bud differentiation and therefore crop potential. That program indicated despite a nearly-record crop last year, Riveridge Land Company orchards are anticipating an excellent 2014 return bloom.
“We’ve adopted this technology as a way to anticipate crop potential and plan our apple management techniques in the next few weeks,” said Don Armock, Riveridge president. “Blooming is now underway, weather conditions are good and we’re indeed seeing a strong return bloom.”
“We know those blossoms are very viable, and we anticipate setting back-to-back large crops,” he added.
Michigan had a very challenging winter, including months-long stretches of subzero temperatures and a near-record 116 inches of snow in the Grand Rapids area.
Apple trees, which are hardy to -40 degrees F., suffered no damage, Armock said. Due to a very gradual spring warm-up and the delaying effect of extraordinary ice cover on Lake Michigan, blossoming is running approximately 10 days late, he estimated.
Riverdge Land Company has installed numerous wind machines since the 2012 crop loss, and they were called into use on two nights in mid-May. A combination of cloud cover, frost fans, wind and temperatures that only dropped below freezing in low-lying areas spared Riveridge’s trees from frost damage, Armock said.