New approaches to frost control

The height of the vines influences how they fare during cold weather.

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  • Apple growers need good niche apples

Apple growers need good niche apples

  • July 1st, 2010

Nothing adds spice to a horticulture meeting like a discussion of new, upcoming, promising apple varieties.

Some growers—those depending on commercial packing houses and wholesale distribution—may be looking for that one new variety that could someday transform the industry. Honeycrisp comes to mind.

Growers who have more direct access to local [...]

  • A grower reaches out to consumers

A grower reaches out to consumers

  • July 1st, 2010

Rosa Lynn is a chance seedling discovered on Washington’s Royal Slope. The fruit stores well.

If you discover an exciting new apple variety and want it to succeed, it’s going to take more than just delivering it to the warehouse, a marketer says.

Dain Craver has been traveling the country promoting [...]

  • Last Bite Variety Roundup

Last Bite Variety Roundup

  • July 1st, 2010

Left to right: Envy, an ENZA variety, is in field trials in New Zealand, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States; Ariane was developed in France from crosses of old varieties including Florina, Prima, and Golden Delicious; Evelina, a red sport of Pinova, was discovered in Germany; Honeycrunch [...]

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  • June 1st, 2010

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  • Cheaper, greener SHIPPING

Cheaper, greener SHIPPING

  • June 1st, 2010

After crossing the Cascade Mountains, the Seattle-Chicago train can pick up another 15 rail cars in Quincy to carry Washington produce to Chicago.

A new direct rail service between central Washington and Chicago gives tree fruit shippers a transportation option that is more efficient, less expensive, and greener than trucking, [...]

  • Mulches can conserve water

Mulches can conserve water

  • June 1st, 2010

Research in the Pacific Northwest suggests that mulch placed in the tree row can cut a young apple tree’s water needs by more than 50 ­percent.

Dr. Eugene Hogue, a retired researcher with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in British Columbia, Canada, conducted experiments using a paper slurry mulch that hardens [...]

  • Saving water and energy

Saving water and energy

  • June 1st, 2010

Pictured checking a new meter station are members of The Dalles Irrigation District’s Save Water Save Energy project planning team (from left): Tom Bailey, Tim Dahle, Mike Richardson, Lynn Long, Merlin Berg, and Casey Pink. Jac le Roux and Mike Omeg are not pictured.

A visit to Australia opened Tim [...]

  • Bringing the desert back

Bringing the desert back

  • June 1st, 2010

Small plastic cage sleeves were used to protect the native seedlings from herbivores like rabbits.

Eastern Washington vineyards, with their scant rainfall and location in a high desert, are harsh environments for cover crops. It’s a challenge to get cover crops established and keep them alive when most vineyards use [...]

  • Tracking labor costs

Tracking labor costs

  • June 1st, 2010

This labor tracking program uses a scanning device to read a worker’s bar coded identification.

Technology has brought sophisticated pest management computer models, weather stations, irrigation scheduling, sprayers with sensors, and more to the field. But one of the last holdouts is tracking labor, with many growers still hand-entering timesheets [...]

Quarantine alternative

  • June 1st, 2010

Dr. Wee Yee, entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Yakima, Washington, is conducting research to assess the likelihood of cherry fruit fly becoming established in certain overseas markets that are concerned about potential infestations of the pest, such as Indonesia and Thailand. Dr. Lisa Neven is cooperating [...]

  • Do you know your labor costs?

Do you know your labor costs?

  • June 1st, 2010

Labor tracking programs help growers know their labor costs in near real-time, instead of after the pay period.

Specialty crop agriculture has unique aspects that make paying and tracking labor unlike any other industry. Few payroll and accounting software programs accommodate incentive pay; supervisors dealing with field labor typically are [...]

Tracking prevents favoritism

  • June 1st, 2010

The real advantage that University of California’s ­Gregorio Billikopf sees from labor tracking programs is improvement in productivity by strengthening the quality control and evaluation component.

Billikopf, UC farm labor Cooperative Extension advisor based in Stockton, California, said that he frequently receives calls from agricultural employers seeking information about labor [...]