Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • Chelan Fruit gears up

Chelan Fruit gears up

  • May 15th, 2013

Orondo Ruby is a yellow-fleshed cherry that has more blush and matures earlier than Rainier.
PHOTO COURTESY OF G&C ORCHARDS

Cherry production in north central Washington State is growing at such a pace that Chelan Fruit Cooperative is planning to build a new cherry line for next season.

Reggie Collins, chief [...]

Good Stuff

  • May 15th, 2013

Book of secrets
Karin Argo of Zillah, Washington, is selling the second edition of her popular The Secrets of Eastern Washington Cookbook. Argo, who grew up on an apple, cherry, and pear orchard in Yakima, said she wrote the book as a way to showcase agriculture in central Washington. [...]

Cherry rootstock testing continues

  • May 15th, 2013

It will be a few more years before new precocious, dwarfing rootstocks for sweet and tart cherries become available from the Michigan State ­University rootstock breeding program.

“We don’t have enough data yet for growers to decide whether they want to use them or not,” said Amy Iezzoni, who developed [...]

  • Tip top cherry

Tip top cherry

  • May 15th, 2013

Kim and Troy Toftness with their children Brock and Brylee. Their Skylar Rae cherry brand is named after their first daughter who lived for only 49 days.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE TOFTNESS FAMILY

Cherry growers Troy and Kimberly Toftness are seeing international interest in the new cherry brand Skylar Rae [...]

Nurseries invest in Phytelligence

  • May 15th, 2013

Four major nurseries that form the North American group of the International New Varieties ­Network (INN) have made a significant investment in a new biotechnology company called Phytelligence.

Phytelligence, which is based in Pullman, Washington, was founded in 2011 by Washington State University genomicist Dr. Amit Dhingra with a number [...]

  • Nothing easy about organic weed control

Nothing easy about organic weed control

  • May 1st, 2013

Research in a newly planted organic vineyard showed just how difficult and labor-intensive weed control is under organic conditions. Not only can weeds and cover crops compete with young vines and reduce growth, but also mechanical means to control weeds can injure the tender trunks.

Dr. Carol Miles, extension specialist [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Fruiting walls with windows

Fruiting walls with windows

  • May 1st, 2013

In Italy, where mechanical pruning is being used to form fruiting walls, researchers and growers are already looking at the next step beyond mechanical pruning. It is called window pruning.

Dr. Alberto Dorigoni is studying this approach at the Istituto Agrario Di San Michele All’Adige in Italy’s South Tyrol province. [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]