New approaches to frost control

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

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  • New York growers join the club

New York growers join the club

  • July 1st, 2010

New York 1 is a Honeycrisp offspring without many of its flaws, and New York growers indicate they want to plant it.

In announcing its formation last August, NYAG LLC, also known as New York Apple Growers, set out a game plan for a managed variety “club” made up of [...]

A direct marketer’s directory of apple varieties

  • July 1st, 2010

Harvest date*
Variety
Comments

8/20
Zestar!
Crispy, juicy, nice sweet/tart balance, good flavor for an early apple, firm slices

8/20
Dandee Red
High acid, good keeper for its season

8/20
Sansa
Excellent sweet/tart balance and crunch, disease resistant

9/1
Ginger Gold
Stores into late January

9/3
Gala
Sweet, mild, crisp, slices stay firm

9/15
McIntosh
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  • NEW APPLE is first of many

NEW APPLE is first of many

  • July 1st, 2010

About 130 Washington growers are evaluating WSU’s first apple, WA 2, in their orchards.

Soon, Washington State growers are going to have a wide choice of new apple varieties to grow, all of which are being developed specifically for them.

Washington State University has released the first two varieties from its [...]

  • Avoid hazards when choosing cherries to plant

Avoid hazards when choosing cherries to plant

  • July 1st, 2010

Early Robin has the potential of meeting the demand for an early harvest Rainier-type cherry.

Twenty years ago, fresh cherry producers in the Pacific Northwest were limited in their variety choices to primarily Bing and Rainier. Now, however, there is a plethora of available varieties with more appearing all the [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 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 [...]

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 [...]