New approaches to frost control

The height of the vines influences how they fare during cold weather.

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  • Weed ZAPPER

Weed ZAPPER

  • April 15th, 2013

Engineer Graham Brodie developed the microwave weed-killing machine. Four microwave horn antennae at the back end, each about four inches wide, transmit and direct two kilowatts of microwave energy to the ground.

Kitchen microwave ovens are routinely used to “zap” our food. They can heat leftover pizza or cook dinner [...]

  • Your management program matters

Your management program matters

  • April 15th, 2013

LEFT: Above left: Adult A. mali are affected by most of the tested reduced-risk pesticides. RIGHT: The parasitic wasp Aphelinus mali attacks woolly apple aphids and leaves black, swollen aphid mummies behind.
PHOTO BY ELIZABETH BEERS, WSU

Pesticides are an important tool to protect crops from pest damage. While pesticides [...]

  • The root of the matter

The root of the matter

  • April 15th, 2013

This excavated root system is from a 40-year-old Concord own-rooted vine.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ALAN LAKSO

Grapes, with their flowing vines and lack of inherent structure, are free spirits compared with tree fruits, which have a fairly rigid form and structure. Not surprisingly, grape roots are free spirits as well.

So [...]

  • Five things to consider when buying a tractor

Five things to consider when buying a tractor

  • April 1st, 2013

An example of an older tractor without modern-day features of a rollover protection structure (now mandatory) and an enclosed cab to protect workers during pesticide applications and provide comfort.

If you’re thinking about buying a new or used tractor this year, what should you be considering?

Good Fruit Grower asked Gregg [...]

Mechanizing vineyard saves hundreds per acre

  • April 1st, 2013

At year’s end, when costs of all the grapevine tasks are added up, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’s Mike Means calculates that the company saves more than $750 per acre in labor costs by using machines for pruning, shoot thinning, leaf removal, sucker control, and harvest.

Means noted that his estimated [...]

  • Grape harvesters are going high-tech

Grape harvesters are going high-tech

  • April 1st, 2013

Mechanical harvesters have picked Washington State’s juice grapes and many of the state’s wine grapes for decades, though high-end wine grapes are still mostly hand-picked. But new harvesters could change that.

New harvesting technology makes grape harvesters gentler. They are also able to optically sort grapes during harvest to remove [...]

  • Most vineyard tasks mechanized

Most vineyard tasks mechanized

  • April 1st, 2013

This trunk scrubber of the vMech system is used by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates to control suckers. The device looks similar to a weed whacker with multiple strings.
PHOTOS COURTSY OF STE. MICHELLE WINE ESTATES

Technology has eliminated the need for hand labor for nearly all vineyard tasks. But while [...]

  • High-tech nursery cuts propagation time

High-tech nursery cuts propagation time

  • April 1st, 2013

Pear rootstocks growing in the tissue culture lab.
PHOTOS BY GERALDINE WARNER

A high-tech nursery based in Pullman, Washington, is propagating Washington State University’s new WA 38 apple through tissue culture in anticipation of its commercial release.

Phytelligence holds a propagation license for WA 38, which is one of the first [...]

Last Bite: FruiTrivia

  • April 1st, 2013

1. An experimental Solid Set Canopy Delivery System is designed for:
a.    Applying pesticides
b.    Evaporative cooling
c.     Dispensing pheromones
d.    Irrigation
e.    Frost control

2. The name of the DBR fruit harvesting system stands for:
a.     Drive-By Reaper
b.    Dwan Byl Rennack
c.    Dirty Bucket Replacement
d. [...]

  • Calculating the value of biological control

Calculating the value of biological control

  • April 1st, 2013

Washington State University entomologist Dr. Stan Hoyt developed integrated mite control in the late 1960s (see “How integrated mite control works”).

Over the last four decades, integrated mite control has saved Washington fruit growers millions of dollars each year because they did not have to use specific miticides to control [...]

What Tier 4 standards mean

  • April 1st, 2013

Fuel requirements. New engines will require ultra-low sulfur diesel that has no more than 15 parts per million of sulfur. (This fuel has been used since 2006 in on-highway vehicles.)

New engine technology. Changes likely to be most noticeable are in placement and packaging of aftertreatment systems and increased size [...]

  • New off-road emission standards coming

New off-road emission standards coming

  • April 1st, 2013

Clean diesel technology has been making its way off the highways and into farms and fields and other off-road uses since the 1990s. For growers, this has translated into more expensive and sophisticated tractors and diesel engine-driven equipment, but they will become even more so when the last tier [...]