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An economist at the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center says a new study showing the expense of growing honeycrisp apples could help dissuade

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Honeycrisp Growers Dependent on Current Demand

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An economist at the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center says a new study showing the expense of growing honeycrisp apples could help dissuade farmers from over-planting the popular tree.

Karina Gallardo, who co-authored the production cost analysis with Suzette Galinato, refused to speculate on the odds of honeycrisp remaining popular with consumers or predict what might happen if farmers flooded the market with honeycrisps. But her research confirms that the apple's current sale price of $50 per box, about double the cost of other varieties, is making a fairly difficult crop attractive to farmers.

"The general wisdom says honeycrisp is more expensive to grow," Gallardo says.

Gallardo's findings prove the worth of general wisdom: As first reported by Capital Press, the blossom thinning and calcium spraying required to keep honeycrisp orchards healthy aren't cheap. To break even, a grower needs to clear $350 a bin, figured at a reasonable 55-bin yield per acre. By comparison, a grower won't lose money on Gala apples so long as he or she can sell them for $250 a bin.

Right now, demand supports the extra investment in honeycrisp, Gallardo says.

"But we don't know if that premium price will keep up," she adds.

Honeycrisp is the state fruit of Minnesota, but is grown on more than 9000 acres of Washington soil.

"I don't think anyone could grow honeycrisp as well as the top growers here," Gallardo says.

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