Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • KC Bailey Farms taps wind and sun for power

KC Bailey Farms taps wind and sun for power

  • December 1st, 2010

This shiny new roof is covered with 110 photovoltiac solar panels that will provide 25-kilowatt power capacity for the cold storage behind it.

Chip and Karla Bailey saw the potential for generating renewable energy on their farm already in 2001, but it took a while to get there.

After years of [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Electric-tractor maker gears up

Electric-tractor maker gears up

  • December 1st, 2010

Steve Heckeroth had a number of potential buyers for his crawler tractor when the price of gas and diesel was high.

Alternative-energy enthusiast Steve Heckeroth says the increasing use of electric tractors will depend largely on the economics, even though there are other good reasons to switch from ­fossil fuels.

Heckeroth, [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • The Monster MASH

The Monster MASH

  • December 1st, 2010

As grapes vibrate across the MOG separating table, seeds and shot berries fall through the screen. The bar in the front is a newly added air knife to remove light material as the grapes fall.

The relatively new processing station at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate winery—with its one-of-a [...]

  • Revolution for INNOVATION

Revolution for INNOVATION

  • December 1st, 2010

Trellis posts in New York are vibrated in, not pounded, using down pressure from a loader and a vibrating cam.

Growers in western New York are convinced they need to mechanize their fruit operations and improve labor efficiency if they are to flourish in the future, and they’re moving rapidly [...]

  • 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. [...]

Fruit region is electric vehicle hub

  • December 1st, 2010

The days of 30-cents-per-gallon gasoline are long gone, but new electric vehicles can run on the equivalent of that in areas of the country where power rates are low.

North central Washington State, with its cheap hydropower and emerging wind and solar projects, has become a hub for efforts to [...]

  • Cherry harvest shifts later

Cherry harvest shifts later

  • December 1st, 2010

At one time, when she grew standard cherry varieties, such as Van, Lambert, Star, and Stella, harvest ended in July at Christine Dendy’s orchard in East Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

Now, with some of the latest releases from British Columbia’s cherry breeding program, such as Sovereign and Sentennial, she’s just [...]

  • Vacuum harvester passes bruising tests

Vacuum harvester passes bruising tests

  • December 1st, 2010

Critical components of the DBR harvester are the vacuum tubes (green ones carry apples), the decelerator wheels (circular steel), and the elephant-ear fruit distributor (fan-like device above apples). Here, a full bin is being lowered to the ground during a demonstration at Mike Rasch’s orchard in August.

The vacuum system [...]

More cherries in the pipeline

  • December 1st, 2010

New, late-maturing cherry varieties developed in British Columbia, Canada, have helped keep the province’s cherry growers in ­business.

“At one stage, the cherry industry was dwindling away until these late varieties were introduced,” recalled Dr. Frank Kappel, cherry breeder at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland.

The Summerland program continues [...]

  • 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 [...]