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The 2015 IFTA summer tour provided an intense learning environment for growers and researchers who took part in the the three day event in eastern Washington on July 15-17. Nearly 200 people loaded up on buses traveling over 900 miles to learn about sun protection, Honeycrisp growing techniques and tips to better manage dwindling labor resources.

Below are photos and quotes from the hot summer tour.

The first stop on the tour began at Stemilt's Saddle Mountain West orchard with Dale Goldy and Robin Graham on July 15, 2015. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

The first stop on the tour began at Stemilt’s Saddle Mountain West orchard with Dale Goldy and Robin Graham on July 15, 2015. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Dale Goldy - Be early and consistent with organic weed control. If it gets over 6 inches you've lost control of the orchard floor. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Dale Goldy – Be early and consistent with organic weed control. If it gets over 6 inches you’ve lost control of the orchard floor. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Jamie Jamison (left) - We are putting Surround on our south facing apples to help manage fruit temperatures. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Jamie Jamison (left) – We are putting Surround on our south facing apples to help manage fruit temperatures. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

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Robin Graham - Honeycrisp is a really difficult crop, you'll need a very dedicated crew to do it well.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Robin Graham – Honeycrisp is a really difficult crop, you’ll need a very dedicated crew to do it well. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Robin Graham - From Honeycrisp's pre bloom through thinning we're always working our counts to manage crop load. Thinning at least three times. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Robin Graham – From Honeycrisp’s pre bloom through thinning we’re always working our counts to manage crop load. Thinning at least three times. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Dave Allan - The most efficient system is when you have people working on the ground. The next is with platforms.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Dave Allan – The most efficient system is when you have people working on the ground. The next is with platforms. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Dave Allan - Yield trumps efficiencies, however with labor costs going up we'll be rethinking that.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Dave Allan – Yield trumps efficiencies, however with labor costs going up we’ll be rethinking that. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

 Travis Allan -  We weld out trellis system to reduce movement and keep the steel from warping. Cold roll steel is sturdier than hot rolled steel.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Travis Allan – We weld our steel trellis system to reduce movement and keep the steel from warping. Cold rolled steel is sturdier than hot rolled steel. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Travis Allan - We cut a 5 foot hole in the v-trellis so our four wheelers could pass through row to row.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Travis Allan – We cut a 5 foot hole in the v-trellis so our four wheelers could pass through row to row. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Todd Cameron - I've never seen a fireblight strike on a Geneva rootstock, although I've seen it in other rootstocks.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Todd Cameron – I’ve never seen a fireblight strike on a Geneva rootstock, although I’ve seen it in other rootstocks. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Rick Orozco - Tools like the wonder weeder really help us better manage our organic orchard rows.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Rick Orozco – Tools like the wonder weeder really help us better manage our organic orchard rows. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

IFTA summer tour attendees enjoy fresh peaches wrapping up day one at Hi-Point orchard near Mesa, Washington. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

IFTA summer tour attendees enjoy fresh peaches wrapping up day one at Hi-Point orchard near Mesa, Washington. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Jim Doornink - We need light, light, light. The architecture for this block is wrong. We have to prune it back real hard to get light. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Jim Doornink – We need light, light, light. The architecture for this block is wrong. We have to prune it back real hard to get light. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Jim Doornink - A cluster of 6 fruit buds don't help you with your count, you can't have that many. Prune it back to just one.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Jim Doornink – A cluster of six fruit buds don’t help you with your count, you can’t have that many. Prune it back to just one. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Phil Doornink - Our newer Gala V trellis system are about 13 degrees to help maximize our light distribution.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Phil Doornink – Our newer Gala V trellis system are about 13 degrees to help maximize our light distribution. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Phil and Karen Doornink's new puppy takes a break from the IFTA summer tour. Jim Doornink - You can't force a platform into your system, you need your foreman to get the crews to use them.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Phil and Karen Doornink’s new puppy takes a break from the IFTA summer tour. Jim Doornink – You can’t force a platform into your system, you need your foreman to get the crews to use them. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Jason Matson - We'll be retrofitting some older Honeycrisp blocks to use shade cloth and then run sprinklers on the excessively hot days to avoid sunburn. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Jason Matson – We’ll be retrofitting some older Honeycrisp blocks to use shade cloth and then run sprinklers on the excessively hot days to avoid sunburn. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Jason Matson - We need to get high yield out of our new Honeycrisp because of our labor costs, or we will choke and die.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Jason Matson – We need to get high yield out of our new Honeycrisp because of our labor costs, or we will choke and die. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Sweetheart cherries being harvested for processing during the IFTA Washington tour in Selah, Washington on July, 2015. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Sweetheart cherries being harvested for processing during the IFTA Washington tour in Selah, Washington on July, 2015. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Bruce Allen uses four pounds of pure cane sugar per acre, every seven days, to reduce apple damage from birds. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Bruce Allen uses four pounds of pure cane sugar per acre, every seven days, to reduce apple damage from birds. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Bruce Allen - We use Extenday 4 months in these blocks to help with an issue of biannual bearing. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Bruce Allen – We use Extenday for four months in these blocks to help with an issue of biannual bearing. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Bruce Allen - Using Extenday in the rows gives us a higher color quality on first pick of Honeycrisp. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Bruce Allen – Using Extenday in the rows gives us a higher color quality on first pick of Honeycrisp. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

The tour stopped at one of Bruce Allen's new tools to fight damage to his apples -- a hail cannon. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

The tour stopped at one of Bruce Allen’s new tools to fight damage to his apples — a hail cannon. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

The third day of the IFTA Washington tour rolls past acres of covered tree fruit on the way to Mattawa, Washington, on July 17, 2015.<b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

The third day of the IFTA Washington tour rolls past acres of covered tree fruit on the way to Mattawa Washington, on July 17, 2015. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Brent Milne - Before shade cloth we were losing nearly seven boxes per bin, about $2,800 per acre of Pink Lady to sunburn. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Brent Milne – Before shade cloth we were losing nearly seven boxes per bin, about $2,800 per acre of Pink Lady to sunburn. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Brent Milne (at right responding to question) - Our plans with future installations is to use larger shade cloth trellis posts every three rows, with 36 foot panels when the system is installed. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Brent Milne (at right responding to question) – Our plans with future installations is to use larger shade cloth trellis posts every three rows, with 36 foot panels when the system is installed. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Stefano Musacchi - If you summer prune without shade cloth you are done. Sunburn will critically damage the crop. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Stefano Musacchi – If you summer prune without shade cloth you are done. Sunburn will critically damage the crop. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Scott Jacky - We'll need to put in additional supports and wires on this trellis system, but the cost was cheap at  $3,300 per acre. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Scott Jacky – We’ll need to put in additional supports and wires on this trellis system, but the cost was cheap at $3,300 per acre. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Scott Jacky - Because of our sandy soil we put in 22 foot poles on our new installations costing about $7,000 an acre.  <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Scott Jacky – Because of our sandy soil we put in 22 foot poles on our new installations costing about $7,000 an acre. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Quadcopter use during the equipment demonstration on third day of the IFTA Washington tour on July 17, 2015.<b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

Quadcopter use during the equipment demonstration on the third day of the IFTA Washington tour on July 17, 2015. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

The equipment demonstration on the third day of the IFTA Washington summer tour on July 17, 2015. <b> (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)</b>

The equipment demonstration as seen from the quadcopter on the third day of the IFTA Washington summer tour on July 17, 2015. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

Editor note: Two photos captions above named Robin Graham incorrectly as Dale Goldy. We regret the error.