Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • 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 [...]

  • Glory be

Glory be

  • February 15th, 2011

Gordon Goodwin’s cherry orchard at Stemilt Hill, near Wenatchee, Washington, is in one of Washington’s later cherry districts. So, as he’s updated his orchard over the past 30 years, he’s focused on varieties that he can harvest well after the midseason glut: Bing, Sonata, Selah, Lapins, and Attika.

About eight [...]

WA 2 traits, evaluation and commercialization

  • February 15th, 2011

The evaluation and commercialization process
Phase 1:     Initial seedling selection and evaluation by WSU
Phase 2:    Small-scale on-farm trials with five trees at about two sites
Phase 3:     Midscale on-farm trials with 10 to 100 trees at about four sites
Phase 4:     Widescale evaluation
Phase 5:    [...]

WA 2 ready for commercial plantings

  • February 15th, 2011

Washington growers can now obtain licenses to plant WA 2 on a commercial basis. WA 2 is the first apple variety from Washington State University’s breeding program.

The commercialization phase is the fifth phase in WSU’s variety evaluation and commercialization program. Only growers who have already signed up to take [...]

  • Last Bite — Discovering Gold

Last Bite — Discovering Gold

  • February 15th, 2011

Top: The russet-resistant Smoothee, discovered in 1958, is the widest planted strain of Golden Delicious in the United States. Photo courtesy of Willow Drive Nursery Bottom left: A promotion card that the Washington Apple Commission used in 1958–1959. Bottom Right: Goldspur, shown in the Van Well Nursery catalog of [...]

No apple releases imminent

  • February 15th, 2011

Washington State University’s apple breeder, Dr. Kate Evans, is not recommending that the university release another variety for at least a year or two.

The breeding program’s first variety, WA 2, was released in 2009, went into widescale evaluation a year ago, and can now be planted commercially. The second [...]

Rootstock effects on wine are minor

  • February 1st, 2011

Despite the discovery near Kennewick in 1894 of the destructive grapevine root pest phylloxera, the vast majority of Washington State’s vineyards continue to be planted to wine and juice grapes grown on their own roots. While juice grapes are relatively tolerant of the insect, European wine grapes can succumb [...]

  • Spin your weeds away

Spin your weeds away

After years of sitting on a tractor to knock down vineyard weeds with an old grape hoe, only doing about an acre an hour and always causing some vine damage, Dave Kohler finally reached his breaking point. Nearly ten years ago, he’d had enough and was determined to figure [...]

Rootstocks, varieties, and tree training

  • February 1st, 2011

A research and demonstration orchard near Ferrara, Italy, is a horticulturist’s dream—a 25-acre plot to study rootstocks, varieties, and training systems for pears, apples, and cherries that’s funded by a private foundation without worry of budget cutbacks. And, how about a $3.5-million donation just for pears for the next [...]

  • Good Stuff

Good Stuff

  • February 1st, 2011

With Come Unglued, there is no need to replace expensive PVC fittings.

Quick PVC pipe fix
Come Unglued is a new tool designed to save time and money when repairing PVC pipes. The tool uses heat to break any PVC cement bond, allowing the user to remove a broken pipe [...]

  • New varieties are slow to be planted

New varieties are slow to be planted

  • February 1st, 2011

Laimburg Research Center’s Daniele Bona, left, shows the differences between high and low elevation in their variety trials.

Golden Delicious is the major variety grown in the South Tyrol, but a slow shift to newer varieties and improved clones of traditional ones is taking hold. In the last four years, [...]