Reopening of Chinese apple market is welcome news for growers

Industry grateful as biggest apple crop ever prepares to ship.

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  • Pox-resistant plum registered

Pox-resistant plum registered

  • July 1st, 2010

The HoneySweet plum is sweet and flavorful and highly resistant to the plum pox virus.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced its conditional registration of a plum pox virus resistance gene contained in a new plum variety called HoneySweet.

Dr. Ralph Scorza, research horticulturist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s [...]

Antibiotic on organic sunset list

  • July 1st, 2010

Organic tree fruit growers in the Pacific Northwest are concerned that the National Organic Standards Board might drop its approval of the antibiotic Mycoshield (oxytetracycline or tetracycline) for organic production in 2012. The product is used to manage fireblight in apples and pears.

The NOSB has a list of more [...]

In My View – Chris Schlect

  • July 1st, 2010

The continued availability of agricultural chemicals used to protect crops from ­harmful pests and diseases is jeopardized from many angles. Costs rise as a result of intensive testing and regulatory requirements imposed by government on chemical manufacturers and formulators; environmental activists fly to court to seek bans on usage; [...]

Good Stuff

  • June 1st, 2010

Voliam label expansion
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has approved a label expansion for Voliam Xpress insectide, which allows its use on pome and stone fruits, and other crops. Voliam, developed by Syngenta Crop Protection, contains two active ingredients with different modes of action: the diamide insecticide chlorantraniliprole [...]

Foremen learn to supervise

  • June 1st, 2010

The Washington Farm Bureau, through Dan Fazio, sponsored a couple of two-day foreman training seminars, one in Mt. Vernon, the other in Pasco. Topics covered included:

Interpersonal negotiation skills (learning how to confront disagreement without being disagreeable)
The importance of supervisory praise (how to give praise without employees thinking that [...]

Good Point – Frank Gasperini, National Council of Agricultural Employers

  • June 1st, 2010

Fruit growers are challenged every season by weather, pests, and unpredictable input costs along with the need to compete with producers from other countries in our increasingly global marketplace. As challenging as these cultural and marketing pressures are, most growers will tell you this is what agriculture is all [...]

  • Tracking labor costs

Tracking labor costs

  • June 1st, 2010

This labor tracking program uses a scanning device to read a worker’s bar coded identification.

Technology has brought sophisticated pest management computer models, weather stations, irrigation scheduling, sprayers with sensors, and more to the field. But one of the last holdouts is tracking labor, with many growers still hand-entering timesheets [...]

  • New rules govern Michigan irrigators

New rules govern Michigan irrigators

  • June 1st, 2010

Last July, new rules in Michigan required most would-be irrigators to get permission to withdraw water either from groundwater using wells or from flowing streams and rivers.

This was shocking in itself, for Michigan is a riparian state in which both surface and groundwater used to be freely available to [...]

  • Do you know your labor costs?

Do you know your labor costs?

  • June 1st, 2010

Labor tracking programs help growers know their labor costs in near real-time, instead of after the pay period.

Specialty crop agriculture has unique aspects that make paying and tracking labor unlike any other industry. Few payroll and accounting software programs accommodate incentive pay; supervisors dealing with field labor typically are [...]

  • NW questions cherry fruit fly quarantine

NW questions cherry fruit fly quarantine

  • June 1st, 2010

The western cherry fruit fly has not been found in California’s cherry-growing districts.

State officials in Oregon and Washington say ­California’s quarantine requirements for the Western cherry fruit fly are unjustified.

Helmuth Rogg, supervisor of the Oregon State Department of Agriculture’s Insect Pest Prevention and Management Program, said California has imposed [...]

Tracking prevents favoritism

  • June 1st, 2010

The real advantage that University of California’s ­Gregorio Billikopf sees from labor tracking programs is improvement in productivity by strengthening the quality control and evaluation component.

Billikopf, UC farm labor Cooperative Extension advisor based in Stockton, California, said that he frequently receives calls from agricultural employers seeking information about labor [...]

Growers surveyed on pest practices

  • May 1st, 2010

Washington apple growers are adopting new pest ­management strategies and technologies including safer chemistries, in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency phaseout of ­azinphos-methyl (AZM-Guthion) in tree fruits. Because the new chemistries require more precise timing and better spray coverage, use of predictive models and improved application delivery [...]