Reopening of Chinese apple market is welcome news for growers

Industry grateful as biggest apple crop ever prepares to ship.


  • Housing helps attract workers

Housing helps attract workers

  • April 1st, 2012

Mike Gempler (facing camera) tours Sage Bluff housing project.

Housing—be it state-subsidized tent programs, onsite grower-owned, or public housing built for seasonal agricultural workers—is an attractive employment benefit that can help secure workers. With agricultural labor shortages looming in Washington State and many other parts of the nation, [...]

USA Farmers seek reform

  • April 1st, 2012

Chalmers Carr III doesn’t expect Congressional action on farm labor and immigration issues before the fall elections this year, and he hopes the labor situation won’t get much worse this growing ­season. If it does get worse this year, however, it might help his cause.

After the elections, he hopes, [...]

Few alternatives to H-2A program

  • April 1st, 2012

Tom Roach outlined labor options at a recent Washington Growers League meeting.

Growers worried about securing a work force for the coming year have few viable and legal alternatives to the federal foreign guest-worker program known as the H-2A program. The alternatives might work for those needing small numbers of [...]

  • H-2A basics

H-2A basics

  • April 1st, 2012

Lucio Machado picks Golden Delicious in a Wenatchee, Washington, orchard.

Fear of a repeat of last fall’s labor shortage in the Pacific Northwest has many growers thinking about the H-2A program, the only legal means of bringing temporary agricultural foreign workers into the United States. While many agricultural employers across [...]

  • Leafroller challenges cherry growers

Leafroller challenges cherry growers

  • April 1st, 2012

Obliquebanded leafroller larva
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture

Tart cherry growers need to use a modern, effective insecticide to control obliquebanded leafroller about two weeks before ­harvest—or risk delivering a contaminated crop that may be rejected by the processor.

That’s the advice of Dr. Nikki Rothwell, the entomologist who coordinates activities at [...]

Seasonal workers essential but costly

  • April 1st, 2012

Having to rely on migrant labor has never been an easy game for fruit growers in British Columbia, Canada.

While a highly mobile work force—usually students from Quebec and other parts of Canada—has traditionally given the industry access to a large pool of people able and willing to move to [...]

DNA test identifies pathogens in tainted foods

  • April 1st, 2012

Fruit or vegetable packers concerned that their produce may be contaminated with unsafe pathogens will soon have a simple screening method they can use to ease or confirm their fears. It’s a handheld tool that’s said to be easy to use on-site, gives results in about an hour, and [...]

Tallying the costs

  • April 1st, 2012

Tree fruit growers in British Columbia’s Okanagan ­Valley typically require about 3,300 seasonal workers annually. But working with foreign migrants who come to Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program is different than working with domestic migrants.

Participating farms must demonstrate an inability to find suitable local workers, for example, [...]

Underground drip irrigation serves two purposes

  • April 1st, 2012

Water is plentiful in the fruit-growing area along Lake Michigan’s eastern shore, so it’s not scarcity that’s an issue. The problem is with some water that’s been made slightly dirty but is perfectly useful if ­handled right.

That’s led some fruit growers and fruit processors to make double use of [...]

EU regulations stifle fruit exports

  • March 15th, 2012

Pacific Northwest apple and pear exports to Europe have dropped dramatically since pesticide ­regulations were harmonized among members of the European Union. Restrictive pesticide residue limits of the European Union have required U.S. producers to adopt chemical use practices and compliance systems unique to the EU market, and that’s [...]

  • Easier access to MRLs

Easier access to MRLs

  • March 15th, 2012

Growers using Washington State University’s online Decision Aid System this season will be able to consider pesticide maximum residue limits (MRLs) of top foreign markets when they make their crop protection chemical decisions.

In recent years, producing fruit for export markets has become more complicated because pesticide registration and setting [...]

Three keys to successful pollination

  • March 15th, 2012

Queen bees lay eggs singly in cells of the honeycomb. After the eggs hatch, worker bees feed the larvae in the cells and cap them when the larvae pupate. A drone is pictured emerging from a cell.

The three major considerations in tree [...]