Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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Prepare for future technology

  • May 1st, 2011

Orchard structure will be a critical factor in the success of the tree fruit industry of the future because orchards will need to be compatible with emerging technologies, says Oregon State University agricultural economist Clark Seavert.

For this reason, orchard renewal should be a key part of a grower’s business [...]

  • Measuring the organic footprint

Measuring the organic footprint

  • May 1st, 2011

Tilling the soil releases carbon into the atmosphere, but does the compost that organic growers apply compensate for that?

Emissions of nitrous oxide from on-farm fertilizer applications are thought to be a significant contributor to the rising levels
of greenhouse gases in the ­atmosphere.

Although the amount of nitrous oxide emitted [...]

  • Fruit processor harnesses solar power

Fruit processor harnesses solar power

  • May 1st, 2011

This 19-acre solar power system at Knouse Foods will generate 4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. The 14,000 230-watt polycrystalline solar panels face south with a 32-degree tilt. The system was installed on a long-closed waste-disposal site and took six months to complete.

Knouse Foods, a Pennsylvania-based grower-owned cooperative [...]

  • Cutting costs of IPM

Cutting costs of IPM

  • May 1st, 2011

Vince Jones at Washington State University is testing the new Z-Trap, which zaps insects and records when they were trapped. It might be possible to remotely identify the type of insect, also.

The key to integrated pest management is monitoring—knowing what is going on in your orchard.

“Monitoring is very, very [...]

  • Honeycrisp challenges club concept

Honeycrisp challenges club concept

  • May 1st, 2011

The name Ambrosia reflects the aromatic flavor of the apple.
Courtesy Sally & Wilfrid Mennell

Honeycrisp has set the standard for new varieties to follow in terms of consumer acceptance and the returns that growers expect, apple marketers say.

It’s also one of the few varieties that producers can freely plant [...]

  • How big is the orchard footprint?

How big is the orchard footprint?

  • May 1st, 2011

The galvanized wire used for trellises might contribute significantly to the environmental footprint of an orchard because of the large amount of energy used in its manufacture.

Washington State University researchers are assessing the environmental impact of the typical Washington apple orchard.

Dr. Usama Zaher, biological systems engineer, is developing a [...]

  • Wide scope for rootstock research

Wide scope for rootstock research

  • April 15th, 2011

International Fruit Tree Association members tour a research plot at Wapato, Washington, where a wide range of apple rootstocks are being compared.

Rootstock development is a huge area of research that goes beyond studying the survival, size, and yield efficiency of rootstocks, says Dr. Terence Robinson, horticulturist at Cornell University, [...]

Growers vote on special assessment

  • April 15th, 2011

Washington State tree fruit growers will be asked to pay a special research assessment to strengthen research and extension programs at Washington State University.

The university has launched a major fundraising campaign with a goal of raising a billion dollars overall to fund priority programs. Of the total, $42 million [...]

Newer herbicides join the arsenal

  • April 15th, 2011

Among the newer herbicides that fruit growers should look at are Treevix, Alion, Matrix, Spartan, and Sandea, and there are new formulatons of Sinbar and Rely, says Michigan State University weed control specialist Dr. Bernie Zandstra.

Treevix (saflufenacil) was new last year, introduced by BASF. It has both foliar and [...]

Root2Fruit group will request research funding

  • April 15th, 2011

A group of scientists from around the country aims to develop new tree fruit rootstocks for the tree fruit industry with the goal of increasing orchard profitability. The group, which calls itself Root2Fruit, plans to submit a proposal in 2012 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for funding through [...]

Who’s eating codling moth?

  • April 15th, 2011

This article is part of a series on the multistate project “Enhancing Biological Control in Western Orchards.”

How big a role can predators play in controlling codling moth in fruit orchards? That’s a question that Dr. Thomas Unruh, geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Yakima, Washington, wants to [...]

  • Last Bite: Gala breeder put flavor first

Last Bite: Gala breeder put flavor first

  • April 15th, 2011

Gale Gala is a sport of Royal Gala discovered by Wally Gale in Wenatchee, Washington, and patented in 1997. Inset: The Pacific Gala is a red mutation of Royal Gala discovered by Dick and Larry Olsen at Prosser, Washington, and patented in 1996.

Gala was developed more than 70 years [...]