New approaches to frost control

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

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  • Last Bite: Cox pipped out by Gala

Last Bite: Cox pipped out by Gala

  • December 1st, 2012

Cox’s Orange Pippin is a firm, juicy, full-flavored apple with an orange-red skin and cream-colored flesh.
Photo by Jacqueline King, WSU

Cox’s Orange Pippin—Britain’s favorite apple for 150 years or so—has been usurped by Gala, one of its grandchildren.

It’s not because Gala is a better apple, British journalist Michael Leapman [...]

Over-the-row research

  • December 1st, 2012

Research evaluating over-the-row tart cherry harvesting was funded in 2008 as a five-year project by USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics Information System.

Headed by Michigan State University horticulturist Dr. Ron Perry, it involves other MSU researchers: cherry breeder Dr. Amy Iezzoni; Dr. Greg Lang, who studies cherry orchard design and [...]

  • Red’s not dead

Red’s not dead

  • December 1st, 2012

Photo by Melissa Hansen

For the past 30 years, Red Delicious has been the poor relation of the apple family. Although all varieties of apples have been profitable in recent years, Red Delicious is still close to the bottom of the list in terms of f.o.b. prices.

Last season, the average [...]

The back story

  • December 1st, 2012

After the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the breach of the Berlin Wall in 1989, countries like East Germany and Poland were re-integrated into a world where machine technology was much preferred to human labor.

In some cases, in the process of “catching up” with the West, they [...]

  • Weather forecasting tested

Weather forecasting tested

  • November 1st, 2012

Washington State University’s automated weather station network, is testing a national forecasting model as a tool to predict weather systems, such as hail or freezes, in the state’s tree fruit and grape growing regions.

AgWeatherNet, a network of 137 automated weather stations across Washington State, provides current weather conditions updated [...]

  • Machines in Quebec

Machines in Quebec

  • November 1st, 2012

Apple growers in Canada’s Quebec Province aren’t having the labor problems U.S. growers have. They have access to Hispanic workers from Central America through a federal program, much like the U.S. H-2A guest-worker program, and it apparently functions more effectively.

Quebec growers aren’t complaining about labor quantity or quality, but [...]

  • No more airblast spraying?

No more airblast spraying?

  • November 1st, 2012

MSU horticulturist Ron Perry, left, worked with engineers to design and install the system. Here he works with two technicians.
PHOTO BY RICHARD LEHNERT

Think of all the materials you put on your orchard through your airblast sprayer: Insecticides, fungicides, antibiotics, chemical thinners, plant growth ­regulators, sunburn protectants, foliar nutrients, [...]

  • Automated crop estimating

Automated crop estimating

  • November 1st, 2012

Robotics experts at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania are confident they can develop a machine able to count apples in orchards in order to provide growers with accurate crop estimates and yield maps. And it may be ­feasible for the machine to estimate the size of the apples.

Dr. Stephen [...]

  • Fixed spray system evaluated in New York

Fixed spray system evaluated in New York

  • November 1st, 2012

For Cornell University entomologist Dr. Art Agnello, the grant funding for research to develop and evaluate the Solid Set Canopy Delivery System (SSCD) for spraying orchards is gratifying for it builds on what he discovered 15 years ago.

“We tried it then, and, frankly, it worked very well,” he said.

In [...]

  • Research project tackles trunk diseases

Research project tackles trunk diseases

  • November 1st, 2012

Researchers will use nearly $1.8 million in grant money to develop new detection, extension, and research tools for managing wood-canker diseases of grapes and nut crops. Wood-canker diseases are a leading cause of vineyard and orchard removal in many parts of the country.

The research project was one of 14 [...]

  • Sterile insects get a boost

Sterile insects get a boost

  • November 1st, 2012

In 1959, the very nasty flesh-invading screwworm fly was eradicated from Florida using a new kind of technology called SIT—Sterile Insect Technique.

Since then, the technology has been widely used. It is effective against fruit flies. It’s also being tested against malaria-carrying mosquitoes and against tsetse flies that cause sleeping [...]

Good Stuff

  • November 1st, 2012

New Zealand’s Tow and Blow
Tow and Blow is a portable wind machine developed in New Zealand by engineer Kim McAulay. He used to import wind machines from the United States but designed his own portable machine to address some of the ­inefficiencies he experienced with the ­stationary versions.

Wind [...]