Why are there so many apples on the ground at the end of the season?
There are many reasons that there are apples on the ground around the orchard. During harvest, apples that are not colored well, have disease or insect damage or are too small; are dropped by the harvest crew, rather than making it into the apple bin. This is a way that apples are pre-sorted before being brought up to the building.
There is a great deal of research that takes place throughout the orchard. Apple trees are evaluated on a number of levels. One of these is to evaluate a trees ability to hold fruit. The dropped fruit are counted and included in much of the research data that is collected.
Apples that end up on the ground are not wasted. Many times farmers come to collect the apple drops to feed to livestock. If apples are not picked up, they are mowed at the end of the season and help to fertilize next year’s crop.