Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • Pox-resistant plum registered

Pox-resistant plum registered

  • July 1st, 2010

The HoneySweet plum is sweet and flavorful and highly resistant to the plum pox virus.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced its conditional registration of a plum pox virus resistance gene contained in a new plum variety called HoneySweet.

Dr. Ralph Scorza, research horticulturist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s [...]

  • New apples for New York

New apples for New York

  • July 1st, 2010

Dr. Susan Brown began breeding the new releases in 1996 and screened thousands of seedlings in the search.

Right from the start, Dr. Susan Brown knew what she wanted: An apple that was as delightful to consumers as Honeycrisp but without all its warts. Honeycrisp has problems that make it [...]

  • Exclusively New York

Exclusively New York

  • July 1st, 2010

A row of New York 1 apples nears maturity.

Cornell University  has had an apple breeding program for about 110 years, and it’s been quite successful. New York 1 and New York 2 are the 65th and 66th new varieties released by Cornell since breeding began, and the list includes [...]

Quarantine alternative

  • June 1st, 2010

Dr. Wee Yee, entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Yakima, Washington, is conducting research to assess the likelihood of cherry fruit fly becoming established in certain overseas markets that are concerned about potential infestations of the pest, such as Indonesia and Thailand. Dr. Lisa Neven is cooperating [...]

  • Saving water and energy

Saving water and energy

  • June 1st, 2010

Pictured checking a new meter station are members of The Dalles Irrigation District’s Save Water Save Energy project planning team (from left): Tom Bailey, Tim Dahle, Mike Richardson, Lynn Long, Merlin Berg, and Casey Pink. Jac le Roux and Mike Omeg are not pictured.

A visit to Australia opened Tim [...]

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  • June 1st, 2010

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  • Tracking labor costs

Tracking labor costs

  • June 1st, 2010

This labor tracking program uses a scanning device to read a worker’s bar coded identification.

Technology has brought sophisticated pest management computer models, weather stations, irrigation scheduling, sprayers with sensors, and more to the field. But one of the last holdouts is tracking labor, with many growers still hand-entering timesheets [...]

  • Cheaper, greener SHIPPING

Cheaper, greener SHIPPING

  • June 1st, 2010

After crossing the Cascade Mountains, the Seattle-Chicago train can pick up another 15 rail cars in Quincy to carry Washington produce to Chicago.

A new direct rail service between central Washington and Chicago gives tree fruit shippers a transportation option that is more efficient, less expensive, and greener than trucking, [...]

  • Do you know your labor costs?

Do you know your labor costs?

  • June 1st, 2010

Labor tracking programs help growers know their labor costs in near real-time, instead of after the pay period.

Specialty crop agriculture has unique aspects that make paying and tracking labor unlike any other industry. Few payroll and accounting software programs accommodate incentive pay; supervisors dealing with field labor typically are [...]

Tracking prevents favoritism

  • June 1st, 2010

The real advantage that University of California’s ­Gregorio Billikopf sees from labor tracking programs is improvement in productivity by strengthening the quality control and evaluation component.

Billikopf, UC farm labor Cooperative Extension advisor based in Stockton, California, said that he frequently receives calls from agricultural employers seeking information about labor [...]

  • Mulches can conserve water

Mulches can conserve water

  • June 1st, 2010

Research in the Pacific Northwest suggests that mulch placed in the tree row can cut a young apple tree’s water needs by more than 50 ­percent.

Dr. Eugene Hogue, a retired researcher with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in British Columbia, Canada, conducted experiments using a paper slurry mulch that hardens [...]

  • Bringing the desert back

Bringing the desert back

  • June 1st, 2010

Small plastic cage sleeves were used to protect the native seedlings from herbivores like rabbits.

Eastern Washington vineyards, with their scant rainfall and location in a high desert, are harsh environments for cover crops. It’s a challenge to get cover crops established and keep them alive when most vineyards use [...]