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State

Better weather means better Illinois apple crop

BELLEVILLE (AP) — The apple crop in Illinois is better quality than last year because of better growing conditions.

Mohammad Babadoost is an associate professor of plant pathology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He says the Illinois apple crop is very good this year but some growers have had to deal with diseases. But overall he says "this year's crops are much, much better and sales are good."

Apple grower Chris Eckert of Eckert's Orchards in Belleville tells the Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/14Mbya5) that this year's cooler-than-normal and rainy growing season is better than last year's drought and intense heat. Eckert says apples do best in cool temperatures and have better color and shine from cool clear nights.

Tom Range of Braeutigam Orchards in Belleville says his crop is "significantly above average."

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