New approaches to frost control

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


  • Seaweeds tested for pest control

Seaweeds tested for pest control

  • November 1st, 2012

Seaweed extracts are typically used by growers with the aim of improving tree growth and enhancing fruit yields and quality. Although the extracts are regulated and marketed as plant growth regulators, entomologists have been studying whether the products could also have benefits in terms of pest control.

Results of a [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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.

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, [...]

  • Good to Know

Good to Know

Grape growers have been closely watching the spread of the brown marmorated stinkbug (Halyomorpha halys Stål). It was first identified in 1996 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and has spread to 36 states. In 2010, a warm winter and spring caused an early population surge of BMSB that caught fruit and [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

AGweathernet will work with mobile devices

  • November 1st, 2012

Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet is a state-of-the-art automated weather data collection and decision support system.

It provides a Web-based suite of weather data and decision-support tools designed to help producers, consultants, irrigation managers, and others in agribusiness.

AgWeatherNet, one of the biggest public weather systems in the nation, has a network [...]

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 [...]

  • Robotic pruning

Robotic pruning

  • November 1st, 2012

If researchers achieve the goals they have set for themselves, apple and grape growers should see the day when their dormant pruning will be done by robots instead of people. Pruning is labor-intensive and accounts for about 20 percent of the cost of both grape and apple production, second [...]

  • Growers try it out

Growers try it out

  • November 1st, 2012

About 50 people—growers and their employees—attended a late-September demonstration in the Jonagold orchard owned by David Rennhack in Hart, Michigan. Two days earlier, another demonstration had taken place at Applewood Orchards in Deerfield, and others were held later at Evans Brothers near Frankfort and at Riveridge Packing near Sparta.

Mike [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Good to Know—What growers want in new varieties

Good to Know—What growers want in new varieties

  • November 1st, 2012

Adopting a new scion cultivar is a crucial decision for tree fruit growers, who must consider both horticultural and market performance. Apple growers have mostly figured out how to produce high yields of excellent quality fruit for many standard varieties like Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Empire, but market [...]