Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

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 [...]

  • Deer Wars

Deer Wars

  • March 15th, 2013

Growers in the prime fruit-growing area surrounding Grand Traverse Bay in northwest Michigan are protesting the conversion of their orchards into prime hunting ground for deer hunters wanting to shoot bucks with ­bigger antlers.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources approved a hunter-requested program called the Quality Deer Management Program [...]

  • Codling moth: It’s what’s for dinner.

Codling moth: It’s what’s for dinner.

  • March 15th, 2013

A sterilized carabid beetle before gut dissection.
Angela Gadino, WSU

Do you ever wonder what those earwigs, spiders, and other ground-dwelling predators eat in your orchard?

This question has been a main focus in the Enhancing Biological Control in Western Orchards Specialty Crop Research Initiative project. We know these predators are [...]

  • Good to Know: Consumer expectations of apple quality

Good to Know: Consumer expectations of apple quality

  • March 15th, 2013

Everyone has a favorite apple variety but what makes it so? How do Washington State University’s new apple varieties WA 2 and WA 38 compare with each other, and with existing commercial varieties?

Consumers and producers may not always agree when asked what characteristics they desire in a new variety. [...]

  • Promotion and management of pear fruiting

Promotion and management of pear fruiting

  • March 15th, 2013

Left: D’Anjou tree sprayed at two weeks after bloom with 80 ppm ReTain relative to an untreated control. Right: Untreated d’Anjou control tree.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF TODD EINHORN

Different pear cultivars have unique challenges associated with their fruiting habits;  young d’Anjou trees can bloom profusely but set relatively few fruit, [...]

  • WA 38 will have a name

WA 38 will have a name

  • March 15th, 2013

The commercialization plan for WA 38 will be different than for its first release, WA 2.

Washington State University is finalizing a plan for how its ­second apple variety, WA 38, will be commercialized.

The university will send out an “announcement of opportunity” (similar to a request for proposals) inviting applications [...]

  • Project objectives

Project objectives

  • March 15th, 2013

Five specific objectives for the ­Integrated Crop Pollination ­project are:

Identify economically valuable pollinators and the factors affecting their abundance.
Develop habitat management practices to improve crop ­pollination.
Determine performance of alternative managed bees as specialty crop pollinators.
Demonstrate and deliver ICP ­practices for specialty crops.
Determine optimal methods for [...]