Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • Pear growers surveyed on biological control

Pear growers surveyed on biological control

  • May 1st, 2013

Implementing stable biological control programs requires growers and pest managers to have a much better understanding of management actions against not only pests, but also their natural enemies. Sound management strategies must consider the phenology of both pests and natural enemies, but also optimal timing of management activities and [...]

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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]