New approaches to frost control

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

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  • Organic fertilizer calculator

Organic fertilizer calculator

  • April 15th, 2010

Oregon State University has developed a tool to help growers compare the cost, nutrient value, and nitrogen availability of organic fertilizers.

The Organic Fertilizer Calculator is an online Excel-based calculator designed to help farmers compare organic fertilizers and plan the most balanced and cost-effective fertilizer program for their farm. Growers [...]

  • Mechanical thinning works

Mechanical thinning works

  • April 1st, 2010

The mechanical string thinner knocked off 15 percent or more dormant buds in this Santina block. Right: The Darwin string thinner.

Soft fruit growers in the United States are catching on to what seems to have been a well-kept secret in Germany. With three years of data by U.S. researchers [...]

  • It just got out of hand

It just got out of hand

  • April 1st, 2010

Phil Brown Welding officially started business in 1964, after some years as an unofficial provider of specialized fruit industry equipment.

“My dad was a fruit grower,” Phil said. “We started building machines for our use, and then began building stuff for the neighbors. It just got out of hand.”

His brother, [...]

Classified Ads

  • April 1st, 2010

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  • Apples from the prairie

Apples from the prairie

  • April 1st, 2010

Autumn Delight (right photo) and Misty Rose.

Three apple cultivars released by the University of Saskatchewan fruit breeding program are being recommended for commercial production in that prairie province this year, according to fruit breeder Dr. Bob Bors. They are Autumn Delight, Prairie Sensation, and Misty Rose.

Autumn Delight (top photo [...]

  • Fruit from the Prairie

Fruit from the Prairie

  • April 1st, 2010

The five members of the Romance series of sour cherries, released in 2003, surround Carmine Jewel, which was released in 1999. All are very dark and sweeter than the tart cherries produced in the United States.

Fruit production doesn’t get much attention at Canada’s 52° north latitude, but plant breeders [...]

  • Australia testing two new pears

Australia testing two new pears

  • April 1st, 2010

Garry Langford says testers will be licensed to grow trees for five years to produce enough pears for sampling.

Two new pear varieties from Australia are being propagated for testing in the United States.

One is an early-season blushed yellow pear that is ready to eat off the tree; the other [...]

Good Stuff

  • April 1st, 2010

Dream tractor?
The Mach 4 is an articulated reversible quad-track vehicle for specialized farming. Launched in Italy in 2008 as a “dream tractor,” it is now one of the leading models that Antonio Carraro produces. It is a universal vehicle designed to handle extreme working conditions on any kind [...]

  • Chemical thinners are inconsistent

Chemical thinners are inconsistent

  • April 1st, 2010

Penn State’s Dr. Jim Schupp says that the inconsistent results with chemical thinners led to researcher interest in mechanical thinners.

After a decade of searching for effective chemical blossom thinners for Pacific Northwest stone fruit growers, researchers are still empty-handed.

The Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission has evaluated chemical thinners for [...]

  • Tree planter pays dividends

Tree planter pays dividends

  • April 1st, 2010

Yakima Valley Orchards designed and built its own three-row tree planting machine.

Yakima Valley Orchards used to plant trees by hand, with workers digging holes with shovels. Now, it has a three-row planting machine that has cut labor costs in half. But, Travis Allan, operations manager, said the real value [...]

  • Reduce compaction

Reduce compaction

  • April 1st, 2010

Juice grape growers in Washington State have found a way to aerate the soil, relieve soil compaction, and reduce farming costs.

An aerator implement that uses metal fingers to loosen the soil is finding favor in the grape industry. Forage and grain crop farmers have found the implement is useful in [...]

Hand-held thinning tool

  • April 1st, 2010

Much of the research in orchard innovation involves automation and robotics, but not every orchard can accommodate technology like mechanized harvesters and mechanical thinners. That’s why a Washington State University engineer is also looking for technology that could augment hand labor.

Dr. Qin Zhang, a biological systems engineer for WSU, [...]