Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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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 [...]

  • 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. [...]

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 [...]

  • Low-volume prestorage drenching is attractive

Low-volume prestorage drenching is attractive

  • October 1st, 2010

Dave Rosenberger described how he tested the effectiveness of low-volume nonrecycling drenches for fruit going into storage. His audience included New York fruit growers and International Fruit Tree Association members on tour during the fruit field day at Cornell Agricultural Research Station at Geneva, New York.

The practice of drenching [...]

Ripe cherries are less likely to pit

  • October 1st, 2010

It’s generally believed that riper cherries are more susceptible to pitting than less mature cherries, but Dr. Peter Toivonen, postharvest physiologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in British Columbia, said results of his research show it’s exactly the opposite. There are fewer pitting problems with darker cherries.

“For a lot [...]

  • Is drosophila a Washington State resident?

Is drosophila a Washington State resident?

  • October 1st, 2010

Entomologists in the Pacific Northwest intend to find out how well the spotted wing drosophila can survive the region’s cold winters.

The pest, a native of Asia, was first seen in ­California in 2008. It was found in Oregon and British Columbia in 2009, and turned up in eastern ­Washington [...]

In the Box

  • October 1st, 2010

Dear Good Fruit Grower:
Can sweet cherries be grown in USDA climate zone 4—successfully?

I live 20 miles north of Minneapolis in Minnesota. In the spring of 2008, I put in a test plot of sweet cherries. I planted 170 bare root trees in a Spanish Bush setting of six [...]

WSU releases second new apple, called WA 5

  • October 1st, 2010

Just a year after the release of WA 2, WSU’s apple breeding program in Wenatchee is releasing its second new cultivar, WA 5. WA 5 is sufficiently different from WA 2 in ripening season, appearance, and eating quality to justify its release.

With a bright orange-red stripe covering 60 to [...]

Keeping the customer satisfied

  • October 1st, 2010

Over the past ten years I have initiated a number of research trials that, when taken together, tell an important story about the link between apple quality and profitability. I often quote my mantra that “we are in the food business” along with McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and even the slow [...]

  • Steps to commercialization

Steps to commercialization

  • October 1st, 2010

New apple varieties from Washington State University are evaluated and ­commercialized under the following general guidelines.

Phase 1: Initial seedling selection and evaluation The Washington Apple Breeding Program evaluates many thousands of seedlings, with input from its Industry Advisory Council. The breeding program identifies selections for ­advancement to Phase 2.

Phase 2: [...]

Mysterious ailment strikes

  • October 1st, 2010

A mysterious disease that has been killing the best looking, reddest strains of McIntosh apples in the nicest orchards in the northwest quadrant of Michigan has tentatively been identified, and growers now have some idea what to do about it.

“We’re not quite there yet,” said Dr. George Sundin, the [...]