Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • Unusual apples are researcher’s passion

Unusual apples are researcher’s passion

  • March 15th, 2011

On an ordinary weekday, Dr. Ian Merwin is a Cornell University teacher and researcher who has put his mark on the orchards of New York—and elsewhere—because of his work with orchard floor management systems, including nutrient dynamics, soilborne diseases, ground cover, and weed control.

But in the evenings and on [...]

Pollination role of native bees studied

  • March 15th, 2011

The price tag for renting honeybees for apple pollination, just $35 per hive a few years ago, now tops $100 in some regions. At one to two hives per acre, that’s a serious input cost for the nation’s apple growers. Not surprisingly, some orchardists are looking to native bees [...]

  • New treatment against CCD

New treatment against CCD

  • March 15th, 2011

Remebee is easily administered—mixed into heavy bee syrup and fed in one feeding of one pint. Some beekeepers are trying the latest version, RemebeePro, this year.
Photo courtesy of Eyal Ben-Chanoch

Beekeepers—and the fruit growers who depend upon them for pollination ­services—may be seeing light at the end of the [...]

  • Last Bite

Last Bite

  • March 15th, 2011

Jonagold combines the Jonathan red color splashed over a Golden Delicious background, but some strains are so red they cover the yellow completely.

Jonagold is one of 76 named offspring of the Jonathan apple and one of at least 25 named offspring of Golden Delicious, but the only other variety [...]

  • Evolution of the Darwin

Evolution of the Darwin

  • March 15th, 2011

While the researchers have pronounced the Darwin string thinner “good to go,” it’s not considered perfect—not by the Canadian company that’s selling it, nor by Pennsylvania State University agricultural engineer Dr. Paul Heinemann. They’re still tweaking it.

“We would like to automate the positioning of the rotating spindle so the [...]

  • Washington Syrah: Rising or falling star?

Washington Syrah: Rising or falling star?

  • March 15th, 2011

Syrah was to be one of the stars in Washington State’s wine lineup. But something happened along the way to greatness, and wineries have watched Syrah wine sales drop and inventories build. In the short term, creativity in blending and marketing may be needed to reduce backlogged inventories, while [...]

  • Mechanical thinner ready

Mechanical thinner ready

  • March 15th, 2011

Darwin used on perpendicular vee peach orchard in California (Family Tree Farms).

Researchers who studied the Darwin string thinner found it does a good job on peaches, saving growers time and labor and generating high-quality, valuable fruit. So, the next step for peach growers is to adopt the machine and [...]

  • Montana growers pin hopes on new varieties

Montana growers pin hopes on new varieties

  • March 15th, 2011

Louise Swanberg, pictured with Tom Colyer, says it’s hard to make money with the existing cherry varieties grown in Montana.
Photos courtesy of Pat mcglynn, montana state university

Montana cherry growers are hoping that new varieties will help them survive the biggest crisis they have faced so far.

In three of [...]

  • Researchers tackle apple weevil

Researchers tackle apple weevil

  • March 1st, 2011

Small and black, the apple flea weevil looks a bit like its larger snout beetle relative, the plum curculio.
Photo by matt grieshop, michigan state university

A coalition of partners in four Midwestern states has applied for grant funding to respond to three new insect threats—spotted wing drosophila, brown marmorated [...]

  • Rainfastness of pesticides varies

Rainfastness of pesticides varies

  • March 1st, 2011

John Wise carries out his rainfastness work on grapes and apples at Michigan State University’s Trevor Nichols Research Complex, where he is coordinator of research.

Folklore says that after a heavy rainfall, you might as well get your sprayer out and reapply your insecticides. For those old twentieth century ­wettable [...]

  • Good Stuff

Good Stuff

  • March 1st, 2011

The Digi-Test is a new instrument for assessing the internal quality of apples. It probes deeper into the fruit than the standard Magness-Taylor firmness tester.

Labor-saving taste tester
The measure of crispness correlates with perceived eating quality.

Washington State University’s apple breeding program is using a new instrument to judge the [...]

  • Play to win

Play to win

The three key aspects for successful orchard renewal are still price, yield, and cost, but the winning strategy is to focus on increasing revenue, rather than minimizing costs, says Oregon State University agricultural economist Clark Seavert.

Innovation is one way growers can remain competitive, Seavert said during the Washington State [...]