New approaches to frost control

The height of the vines influences how they fare during cold weather.

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  • Climate forecasting

Climate forecasting

  • January 1st, 2010

In April 2007, a freeze hit when many plant species, such as these Bradford pears in North Carolina, were weeks ahead in their life cycles and were sensitive to the cold.

by Dr. Ed Brotak
What will the weather be like in the next decade?

Unfortunately, climate forecasts—weather forecasts beyond one [...]

  • Market limitations

Market limitations

  • December 1st, 2009

How new varieties will coexist with those that have already carved out shelf space is the million-dollar question.

The biggest change from a marketer’s standpoint in the next decade will be the influence of the club varieties on the marketplace, says Bob Mast, marketing director at CMI (Columbia ­Marketing International) [...]

Good Point – Jim McFerson

  • December 1st, 2009

Predictions and promises are easy enough, as long as they’re vague. On the other hand, few people really remember the predictions, so why not take a shot and even get specific? Here are some of mine, for the next ten years in the Pacific Northwest tree fruit industry.

Some things [...]

Identity crisis

  • December 1st, 2009

The flood of new apple varieties will continue until the consumer is so confused about the Washington apple identity that they might turn to something else that they can identify, predicts Dr. Don Heinicke, a grower at Orondo in north central Washington. Heinicke was asked to revisit the 1987 [...]

  • Extension educators

Extension educators

  • December 1st, 2009

WSU Extension educator Karen Lewis expects to see more technologies used in orchards to augment workers, in addition to platforms.

In the future, growers won’t need to get in the truck and drive to the coffee shop or to a neighbor’s orchard to find out what they’re doing. Instead, they’ll [...]

  • Wind of change

Wind of change

  • December 1st, 2009

“Change is in the wind,” an article in the Good Fruit Grower declared in 1987, which was a year of milestones for the Washington tree fruit industry.

The industry harvested record apple and pear crops that year. The apple crop came in at 68 million boxes of apples, a leap [...]

  • Field sorting could bring a bonus

Field sorting could bring a bonus

  • December 1st, 2009

The recently planted WSU research orchard will allow study of planting designs for the future.

One of the new technologies Washington State University entomologist Dr. Jay Brunner expects and hopes to see in the next decade is automated sorting of fruit in the field. Apart from reducing a grower’s costs [...]

  • Past, present, and future

Past, present, and future

  • December 1st, 2009

Chuck Peters designed his new pear orchard with mechanization and new technologies in mind.

It might be possible to develop apples with yet-to-be-identified health benefits, says orchardist Chuck Peters.

When Chuck Peters, a pear grower from Yakima, Washington, was asked in 1987 to predict what the fruit industry would be dealing [...]

  • Blast from the past

Blast from the past

  • December 1st, 2009

Robots harvesting fruit, scientists creating the perfect apple trees in petri dishes, and a fruit industry run by conglomerates were just some of the changes envisioned for the next half century by industry leaders, as the Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1987.

Because [...]

  • Growers foresee change

Growers foresee change

  • December 1st, 2009

There are too many new apple varieties, says Polish orchardist Krzysztof Hermanowicz.

New market niches, more emphasis on eating quality, technological advances in the orchard, more regional focus on food, and closer relationships with retailers are changes that a handful of tree fruit growers across the globe envision in the [...]

Field sorting culls

  • December 1st, 2009

One area of research that John Verbrugge thinks has been overlooked is field sorting of culls.

Verbrugge, new president of the Washington State Horticultural Association, said the industry has made great strides in developing a mechanical harvester that uses robotics, although when it is commercially ready, the harvester will require [...]

  • Exotic varieties, new regions

Exotic varieties, new regions

  • December 1st, 2009

A new interest in clones and lesser-known varieties will drive vineyard plantings in Washington State in the next ten years, say industry experts.

Limited retail shelf space could impact the success of new varieties.

by Melissa Hansen

Crystal ball visions given by a cross section of Washington State’s wine grape industry show [...]