Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • Understanding cherry fruit set

Understanding cherry fruit set

  • March 15th, 2011

Researchers, with the help of electron scanning microscopes, can view cherry reproductive organs, like this stigma of a Sweetheart cherry.
Photo courtesy of Matt Whiting, WSU

Pollination and fruit set in sweet cherries play such big roles in yield and fruit quality, yet both are unpredictable and vary dramatically from [...]

  • Italians study light & shading

Italians study light & shading

  • March 15th, 2011

Dr. Luca Corelli is studying a rainbow of hail net colors to see if fruit growth and development can be influenced.
Photo courtesy of University of Bologna

The worldwide transformation of tree fruit orchards from low to high densities and from wide to narrow canopies marked a major revolution in [...]

  • New treatment against CCD

New treatment against CCD

  • March 15th, 2011

Remebee is easily administered—mixed into heavy bee syrup and fed in one feeding of one pint. Some beekeepers are trying the latest version, RemebeePro, this year.
Photo courtesy of Eyal Ben-Chanoch

Beekeepers—and the fruit growers who depend upon them for pollination ­services—may be seeing light at the end of the [...]

Pollination role of native bees studied

  • March 15th, 2011

The price tag for renting honeybees for apple pollination, just $35 per hive a few years ago, now tops $100 in some regions. At one to two hives per acre, that’s a serious input cost for the nation’s apple growers. Not surprisingly, some orchardists are looking to native bees [...]

  • Evolution of the Darwin

Evolution of the Darwin

  • March 15th, 2011

While the researchers have pronounced the Darwin string thinner “good to go,” it’s not considered perfect—not by the Canadian company that’s selling it, nor by Pennsylvania State University agricultural engineer Dr. Paul Heinemann. They’re still tweaking it.

“We would like to automate the positioning of the rotating spindle so the [...]

Washington needs to own the Syrah variety

  • March 15th, 2011

The salvation to lagging wine sales of Syrah may be in Washington State owning the variety as it now does Riesling, says Bob Betz, who describes himself as an “unapologetic, unabashed ­supporter and lover of Syrah.”

Betz, of Betz Family Winery in Woodinville, first tasted Syrah in France’s Côte Rotie [...]

  • Mechanical thinner ready

Mechanical thinner ready

  • March 15th, 2011

Darwin used on perpendicular vee peach orchard in California (Family Tree Farms).

Researchers who studied the Darwin string thinner found it does a good job on peaches, saving growers time and labor and generating high-quality, valuable fruit. So, the next step for peach growers is to adopt the machine and [...]

Be patient with Syrah

  • March 15th, 2011

The lack of consumer interest in Syrah wines is of keen interest to Washington’s wine industry. Some industry officials estimate there are 3,000 acres planted in the state, with many of the newer plantings just beginning to bear fruit. Syrah tonnage in 2010 was up 9 percent from 2009.

Syrah’s [...]

  • Watch out for the good guys

Watch out for the good guys

  • March 15th, 2011

Researchers have been testing different types and colors of traps for monitoring beneficial insects. This white sticky trap, placed next to an insect attractant, caught many lacewings.
Photo by Geraldine Warner

New monitoring tools are providing a window into the biological control taking place in orchards, and it looks like [...]

Where to find unusual apples

  • March 15th, 2011

The New York State Experiment Station in Geneva includes a USDA-ARS Plant Genetic Resources Unit, with a germ plasm repository containing one of the world’s largest collections of apple (more than 3,000 accessions of Malus including more than 40 species collected from around the world) and cool-climate grape varieties [...]

  • Researchers tackle apple weevil

Researchers tackle apple weevil

  • March 1st, 2011

Small and black, the apple flea weevil looks a bit like its larger snout beetle relative, the plum curculio.
Photo by matt grieshop, michigan state university

A coalition of partners in four Midwestern states has applied for grant funding to respond to three new insect threats—spotted wing drosophila, brown marmorated [...]

  • Rainfastness of pesticides varies

Rainfastness of pesticides varies

  • March 1st, 2011

John Wise carries out his rainfastness work on grapes and apples at Michigan State University’s Trevor Nichols Research Complex, where he is coordinator of research.

Folklore says that after a heavy rainfall, you might as well get your sprayer out and reapply your insecticides. For those old twentieth century ­wettable [...]