Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • Play to win

Play to win

The three key aspects for successful orchard renewal are still price, yield, and cost, but the winning strategy is to focus on increasing revenue, rather than minimizing costs, says Oregon State University agricultural economist Clark Seavert.

Innovation is one way growers can remain competitive, Seavert said during the Washington State [...]

  • Will the new pest go after grapes?

Will the new pest go after grapes?

  • March 1st, 2011

Grape growers learn to identify spotted wing drosophila at a Washington State Grape Society meeting.
Photo by Melissa Hansen

Preliminary tests conducted last fall indicate that Washington State grapes might not be attractive to the spotted wing drosophila, an invasive new pest that has popped up across much of U.S. [...]

  • 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 [...]

WA 2 traits, evaluation and commercialization

  • February 15th, 2011

The evaluation and commercialization process
Phase 1:     Initial seedling selection and evaluation by WSU
Phase 2:    Small-scale on-farm trials with five trees at about two sites
Phase 3:     Midscale on-farm trials with 10 to 100 trees at about four sites
Phase 4:     Widescale evaluation
Phase 5:    [...]

WA 2 ready for commercial plantings

  • February 15th, 2011

Washington growers can now obtain licenses to plant WA 2 on a commercial basis. WA 2 is the first apple variety from Washington State University’s breeding program.

The commercialization phase is the fifth phase in WSU’s variety evaluation and commercialization program. Only growers who have already signed up to take [...]

  • Last Bite — Discovering Gold

Last Bite — Discovering Gold

  • February 15th, 2011

Top: The russet-resistant Smoothee, discovered in 1958, is the widest planted strain of Golden Delicious in the United States. Photo courtesy of Willow Drive Nursery Bottom left: A promotion card that the Washington Apple Commission used in 1958–1959. Bottom Right: Goldspur, shown in the Van Well Nursery catalog of [...]

No apple releases imminent

  • February 15th, 2011

Washington State University’s apple breeder, Dr. Kate Evans, is not recommending that the university release another variety for at least a year or two.

The breeding program’s first variety, WA 2, was released in 2009, went into widescale evaluation a year ago, and can now be planted commercially. The second [...]

  • Glory be

Glory be

  • February 15th, 2011

Gordon Goodwin’s cherry orchard at Stemilt Hill, near Wenatchee, Washington, is in one of Washington’s later cherry districts. So, as he’s updated his orchard over the past 30 years, he’s focused on varieties that he can harvest well after the midseason glut: Bing, Sonata, Selah, Lapins, and Attika.

About eight [...]

  • Last Bite–The Comeback Kid

Last Bite–The Comeback Kid

  • February 1st, 2011

A typical Riesling vineyard in Germany’s Mosel region. Some of the steepest vineyards in the world are found in Germany.

The white Riesling grape, a Vitis vinifera variety that has played a dominant role in the development of Washington State’s wine industry, typifies the rise and fall of wine varieties [...]

Marketers line up exclusive apples

  • February 1st, 2011

Aurora
Auvil Fruit Company
For a long time, Auvil Fruit Company had been on the lookout for a yellow, good-tasting dessert apple to add to its lineup of varieties, which includes Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Cripps Pink, but not a single Red or Golden Delicious apple.

Then along came Aurora, [...]

Rootstock effects on wine are minor

  • February 1st, 2011

Despite the discovery near Kennewick in 1894 of the destructive grapevine root pest phylloxera, the vast majority of Washington State’s vineyards continue to be planted to wine and juice grapes grown on their own roots. While juice grapes are relatively tolerant of the insect, European wine grapes can succumb [...]