This classification includes establishments primarily engaged in the production of deciduous tree fruits. Establishments primarily growing citrus fruits are classified in SIC 0174: Citrus Fruits and those growing tropical fruits are classified in SIC 0179: Fruits and Tree Nuts, Not Elsewhere Classified.
Other Noncitrus Fruit Farming
The deciduous fruit industry consists of farms and orchards that maintain and harvest a variety of fruits, specifically apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, pomegranates, prunes, and quinces. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, apples led 2002 crop production with 4.2 million tons, followed by 1.2 million tons of peaches, 912,000 tons of pears, and 690,000 tons of prunes and plums. The value of the apple crop alone in 2002 was in excess of $1.6 billion. The apple crop also constitutes the country's third largest fruit crop, trailing grapes and oranges.
In 2002, more than 1.8 million acres of farmland were devoted to the growth of major deciduous fruits in the United States. This is indicative of the steady market for deciduous fruits, as the acreage devoted to deciduous fruits 15 years earlier was about 1.7 million acres and harvesting techniques have allowed growers to glean more fruit from fewer trees.
Deciduous fruits are divided into two groups according to climate requirements: warm-temperate fruits and cool-temperate fruits. Warm-temperate fruits include apricots, peaches, and plums. Cool-temperate fruits include apples, pears, and cherries. Both categories need a certain, short-period of low temperatures during winter dormancy, called a chilling period, in order to flower and produce fruit.
Chilling periods vary greatly not only among disparate fruits, but among different varieties of the same fruit as well. For example, some varieties of peaches require 250 hours of chilling while others demand as many as 1,000 hours. Apples and cherries generally need more than that. An inadequate chilling period can result in a number of problems. Flower buds may die or blossoms may drop before they open. Those flowers that do develop may not set fruit, or the fruit may be undersized. Growers consider the chilling period of primary importance in the success or failure of their crops. These...