Washington apples

Workers load Fuji apples onto trays for packing. Apples have been Washington state’s top crop for 15 straight years.

Potatoes, hops and onions moved up in Washington’s yearly ranking of its top 10 crops, released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while wheat, hay and eggs slipped.

Apples easily retained the No. 1 spot. The value of the 2019 crop was $1.96 billion, down 8% from the year before.

The value of all Washington agricultural production was $9.49 billion, down 2% from 2018.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service annually compiles the top 10 list. The 10 crops represent 79% of the state’s agricultural production.

Apples have been the No. 1 crop for 15 straight years. Washington’s crop was large, but prices were down, the USDA reported. Apples made up 21% of state agricultural production.

Milk remained solidly in second place. Milk production was valued at $1.28 billion, up 13%.

Potatoes moved past wheat to claim the third spot. Potatoes had a record value of $934 million, up 19% from 2018 and 15% more than the previous record year, 2016.

While potato production was down in Idaho and Oregon, it was up in Washington. The three states make up 62% of U.S. potato production, according to the USDA.

Washington was No. 2 among all states in potato production. Idaho remained the top spud state.

Wheat production was valued at $793 million, down 6%. Washington ranks fourth among U.S. wheat states.

Cattle and calves rounded out the top five, with a value of $699 million, up 7%.

Washington hops had a record year in 2019 and moved up one notch to sixth place.

Hop acreage, yield and prices were up. The crop was valued at $476 million, up 11% from 2018 and 4% higher than the previous record set in 2017.

Even though COVID-19 closed bars, brewpubs and restaurants last spring and hit brewers, Washington hop growers planted about 1,500 more acres this year than last, according to the USDA.

Labor Day storm damage, however, will make this year’s crop smaller than in 2019, helping avert an oversupply, Hop Growers of Washington Executive Director Ann George said Wednesday.

“All in all, if we’re going to have a short crop, this was the year to have it,” she said.

Washington’s 42,3000 acres make up 72% of the U.S. hop acreage, according to the USDA.

Hay slipped to seventh from sixth. The hay crop was valued at $468.3 million, down 9.8%.

Sweet cherries remained eighth. Cherry production was $393.5 million, down 7.7%.

Grapes were again in ninth place. The crop was valued at $308 million, down 14.6%

Onions moved into the top 10, supplanting eggs. Onion production was worth $180.5 million, up 2%.

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