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Bad weather causes 90 percent Michigan apple loss

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's apple crop will be about 90 percent smaller than usual this year because of spring weather damage.

The Michigan Apple Committee said Thursday that growers, shippers and other industry insiders predict about 3 million bushels will be harvested. In a typical year, the state produces 20 million to 23 million bushels, pumping up to $900 million into the economy.

The committee says it's the biggest apple crop loss since the 1940s.

Apple trees bloomed early because of an extraordinary heat wave in March. Then came a series of frosts and freezes that killed most of the blossoms. Some areas suffered more than others.

Gov. Rick Snyder has requested federal disaster assistance for Michigan's fruit growers. The Legislature has passed a bill offering low-interest loans for farmers with ruined crops.