Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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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 [...]

  • Tree IVs?

Tree IVs?

  • December 1st, 2010

This injector was tested with apple trees.

Might the airblast sprayer in the future be replaced by IV tubes jabbed in fruit trees?

Michigan State University entomologist Dr. John Wise decided to see if he could control apple insects by injecting insecticides into the tree trunk—much as landscapers now do with [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Platform transforms orchard work

Platform transforms orchard work

  • December 1st, 2010

Tom DeMarree bought this Blosi platform and uses it for many tasks, including installing trellis wire.

Workers crimp stabilizer wires onto trellis wires. The stabilizer wires eliminate the need for additional stakes
or posts.
Two years ago, the Lake Ontario Fruit Program, with a Northeast Risk Management grant and funds [...]

  • Eliminating LADDERS

Eliminating LADDERS

  • December 1st, 2010

Auvil Fruit Company, based in Orondo, Washington, has developed a picking platform with two objectives in mind: to keep costly cull apples out of the ­packing house and to expand the potential labor pool.

For more than 20 years, Auvil has had workers use platforms, rather than ladders, to prune, [...]

  • 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. [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Farming THE SUN

Farming THE SUN

  • December 1st, 2010

Sol Orchard installed this one-megawatt solar panel project for California’s Victor Valley College.

Imagine a crop without worries of labor, pests, rain during harvest, and rising fertilizer costs. In the near future, there’s potential for such a crop, and it’s one that most growers could produce with little impact on [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • An oddly grand apple

An oddly grand apple

  • December 1st, 2010

That Gala apple sport called Grand Gala apparently deserves its name, and researchers at Purdue University have found out why.

It’s because of a process called endoreduplication—never before found in apples—in which cells in the fruit carry out an unusual cell division, doubling the DNA in the nucleus but not [...]

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 [...]