Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • An oddly grand apple

An oddly grand apple

  • December 1st, 2010

That Gala apple sport called Grand Gala apparently deserves its name, and researchers at Purdue University have found out why.

It’s because of a process called endoreduplication—never before found in apples—in which cells in the fruit carry out an unusual cell division, doubling the DNA in the nucleus but not [...]

Nurseries need a tree counter

  • December 1st, 2010

Robotics scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania set out to develop a device to automatically measure the caliper of nursery trees in the field, but found that a simple tree counter would be more useful for the tree fruit industry.

Dr. Sanjiv Singh and colleagues began to develop the [...]

  • How do platforms impact workers?

How do platforms impact workers?

  • December 1st, 2010

Kit Galvin of the University of Washington explains how she is studying the health impacts of platform work. Rolf Luehs (on the platform), research assistant with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, demonstrates how workers wear monitors to measure their body movements and heart rate.

University of Washington scientists are [...]

REAP can benefit orchardists

  • December 1st, 2010

Fruit growers have been less likely than other farmers to tap into funds available under the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), but some have found opportunity.

Chip and Karla Bailey of Williamson, New York, obtained grants that helped them buy a wind turbine and an array of solar [...]

  • Destiny Ridge Vineyard puts the wind to work

Destiny Ridge Vineyard puts the wind to work

  • December 1st, 2010

Jarrod Boyle, winemaker at Alexandria Nicole Cellars and managing partner of Destiny Ridge Vineyards, likes the looks of the new turbines.

The vertical wind turbines look more like artwork than they do wind machines, Jarrod Boyle says of the renewable energy project installed at Destiny Ridge Vineyards/Alexandria Nicole Cellars.

Since September, [...]

  • Electric vehicle has power

Electric vehicle has power

  • December 1st, 2010

Karen Lewis and Gwen Hoheisel (standing) demonstrate how an electric utility vehicle can be used for herbicide spraying with the WeedSeeker technology.

Karen Lewis and Gwen Hoheisel, Washington State University Extension educators, say an electric all-terrain vehicle that they’re evaluating has met or exceeded all their expectations in research plots.

The [...]

  • Electric-tractor maker gears up

Electric-tractor maker gears up

  • December 1st, 2010

Steve Heckeroth had a number of potential buyers for his crawler tractor when the price of gas and diesel was high.

Alternative-energy enthusiast Steve Heckeroth says the increasing use of electric tractors will depend largely on the economics, even though there are other good reasons to switch from ­fossil fuels.

Heckeroth, [...]

  • Bin hauler becomes orchard platform

Bin hauler becomes orchard platform

  • December 1st, 2010

The Bin Bandit hauls bins during the harvest season, and a platform sits on it for use in thinning, pruning, and tree training.

A machinery manufacturer came to Lamont Fruit Farm three seasons ago, wanting to ­demonstrate a five-bin pickup system to see how the machine, developed as a harvest [...]

  • The Monster MASH

The Monster MASH

  • December 1st, 2010

As grapes vibrate across the MOG separating table, seeds and shot berries fall through the screen. The bar in the front is a newly added air knife to remove light material as the grapes fall.

The relatively new processing station at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate winery—with its one-of-a [...]

  • Revolution for INNOVATION

Revolution for INNOVATION

  • December 1st, 2010

Trellis posts in New York are vibrated in, not pounded, using down pressure from a loader and a vibrating cam.

Growers in western New York are convinced they need to mechanize their fruit operations and improve labor efficiency if they are to flourish in the future, and they’re moving rapidly [...]

  • Tree IVs?

Tree IVs?

  • December 1st, 2010

This injector was tested with apple trees.

Might the airblast sprayer in the future be replaced by IV tubes jabbed in fruit trees?

Michigan State University entomologist Dr. John Wise decided to see if he could control apple insects by injecting insecticides into the tree trunk—much as landscapers now do with [...]

  • Breeders seek input  from supply chain

Breeders seek input from supply chain

  • December 1st, 2010

The apple, cherry, peach, and strawberry breeding activities of RosBREED are located across the United States at university, federal, and private sector locations.

What do genomics and socioeconomics have to do with deciding which fruit cultivar to plant next year?  Until now, not very much, but that is about to [...]