Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

A shift from ladders to illuminated platforms allows pickers to work day or night.

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  • Fruiting wall principles

Fruiting wall principles

  • May 1st, 2013

The tall spindle orchard design that is being so steadfastly encouraged by researchers—and adopted by growers—in the eastern United States came about from the discovery of ­several important principles.

In the 30 years he has been working to develop the tall spindle system, Cornell University’s Dr. Terence Robinson said he [...]

  • 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 [...]

Testing tree health

  • April 15th, 2013

Dennis Smith, horticulturist with G.S. Long Company, Inc., in Yakima, Washington, has been doing soil and leaf sampling for fruit growers for over 20 years and has seen the importance of nutrition change as the industry has moved from widely spaced trees to high-density trellised plantings.

“We’ve got to get [...]

  • Cornell releases wine grape varieties

Cornell releases wine grape varieties

  • April 15th, 2013

Cornell University has released two new wine grape varieties—a cold-hardy aromatic white variety and a red variety that is highly resistant to fungal diseases.
The two releases offer new characteristics not previously available to growers and wineries, particularly producers in New York’s Finger Lakes region, says Bruce Reisch, Cornell [...]

Nutrient information needed

  • April 15th, 2013

As yield expectations have soared in recent years, so has the importance of nutrient management.

Apple growers who were once happy harvesting 60 bins per acre are now counting on eventual annual yields of 100 bins or more to cover the high cost of new plantings.

“With increased crop loads, we [...]

  • WSU seeks licensee

WSU seeks licensee

  • April 15th, 2013

Washington State University’s Research Foundation, which owns the new WA 38 apple, has issued an “announcement of opportunity” inviting individuals, companies, or cooperatives that are interested in managing the variety to submit proposals.

The successful applicant will have an exclusive license to manage the commercialization of the variety but will [...]

  • Evaluating grape sites

Evaluating grape sites

  • April 15th, 2013

Michelle Moyer demonstrates how WSU’s vineyard site evaluation computer model works.
PHOTO BY MELISSA HANSEN

Dr. Michelle Moyer, Washington State University’s statewide viticulture extension specialist, regularly receives calls from growers asking advice about planting wine grapes in the state. Using a new computer model designed by WSU to evaluate potential [...]

  • 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 [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]