Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • Mechanical thinner for green peaches

Mechanical thinner for green peaches

  • 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.

Todd Furber jumped on an idea when he saw a prototype fruit harvester at a field day in Pennsylvania, and, adding some ingenuity, he turned it into [...]

  • Large art for small farms

Large art for small farms

  • December 1st, 2010

An illustration of what John Maher’s ladder artwork will look like.

Artist John Maher of Mosier, Oregon, is turning his talents to creating a huge outdoor project featuring dozens of colorfully painted fruit ladders that will appear in a conga-line formation, along highways in the Columbia Gorge.

“Getting the public’s attention [...]

  • Eliminating LADDERS

Eliminating LADDERS

  • December 1st, 2010

Auvil Fruit Company, based in Orondo, Washington, has developed a picking platform with two objectives in mind: to keep costly cull apples out of the ­packing house and to expand the potential labor pool.

For more than 20 years, Auvil has had workers use platforms, rather than ladders, to prune, [...]

  • Farming THE SUN

Farming THE SUN

  • December 1st, 2010

Sol Orchard installed this one-megawatt solar panel project for California’s Victor Valley College.

Imagine a crop without worries of labor, pests, rain during harvest, and rising fertilizer costs. In the near future, there’s potential for such a crop, and it’s one that most growers could produce with little impact on [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

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 [...]

  • WSU seeks to fund priority programs

WSU seeks to fund priority programs

  • December 1st, 2010

Dr. Jay Brunner

Washington State University will officially announce a major fundraising campaign this month to fund priority programs.

The university aims to raise a billion dollars over a five-year period, and already raised a significant amount before moving the campaign into the public phase. About 25 percent of the target [...]

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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Pruning is key in cherry production

Pruning is key in cherry production

  • December 1st, 2010

Pruning is the whole foundation of good cherry production, says David Geen, who grows 270 acres of cherries in orchards overlooking Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, Canada.

The vast majority of the cherries that he grows at Coral Beach Farms, Ltd., at Winfield, are varieties bred in Summerland, British Columbia. [...]