New approaches to frost control

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

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  • Research viewpoint

Research viewpoint

  • December 1st, 2009

Soft fruit breeder Ralph Scorza and colleagues developed this pitless plum.

Continuing budget constraints at U.S. universities will result in fewer scientists and less research for growers to draw upon, predicts Larry Gut, entomologist at Michigan State University.

“People are being laid off and let go,” Gut said. “I’m afraid it [...]

How many is too many?

  • December 1st, 2009

When it comes to new varieties, John Rice predicts that in the next decade, most retailers will offer five main apple varieties year round—Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Red Delicious—and use the sixth slot to feature seasonal varieties, like Honeycrisp in the early autumn months and other [...]

  • 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) [...]

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 [...]

  • Sorting technology

Sorting technology

  • December 1st, 2009

Tree fruit packers believe that future technology will improve labor efficiencies while improving fruit quality

New technology will touch all areas of tree fruit production in the next decade, from plant breeding to horticulture to packing and storage, all helping to reduce inputs and costs while improving fruit quality, predicts [...]

MSU leads RosBREED project

  • November 1st, 2009

Michigan State University researchers will lead a four-year, $14.4-million grant-funded research project aimed at improving fruit quality, collaborating with nearly a dozen U.S. ­institutions and six international partners.

Dr. Amy Iezzoni, MSU cherry breeder, heads the RosBREED project, aiming to combine emerging DNA sequence and research findings to improve the [...]

Good to Know – Barritt, Evans

  • November 1st, 2009

Since 1994, Washington State University has strived to develop new apple cultivars with outstanding eating quality as quickly as possible. After 15 years, the WSU apple breeding program is releasing its first apple cultivar. The apple, currently known as WA 2, has outstanding eating quality, appearance, and productivity, and, [...]

  • Next big thing testing Mairac

Next big thing testing Mairac

  • November 1st, 2009

The new variety Mairac in being grown in a test plot in the Wenatchee, Washington, area.

Two partners in the European commercialization company VariCom, Michael Weber and Bruno Essner, traveled to the United States in late September to appraise their varieties in test plots.

VariCom has applied for plant variety rights [...]

  • On the fast track

On the fast track

  • November 1st, 2009

Michael Weber picks some samples of Mairac in a Washington State test planting.

With apple variety breeders putting a strong emphasis on accelerating the breeding process, it only makes sense to commercialize the resulting varieties as quickly as possible.

That’s the opinion of Michael Weber, managing director of a Swiss company [...]

  • Novel approach

Novel approach

  • November 1st, 2009

Pete Van Well (left) and Alessio Martinelli of CIV, Italy, admire the color of Rubens apples in Wenatchee, Washington, just before harvest.

Rubens, a new apple variety from Italy, will be commercialized in North America in a novel way that is designed to reduce the risk for producers and to [...]

  • WSU releases its first apple variety

WSU releases its first apple variety

  • October 1st, 2009

Retired WSU apple breeder Dr. Bruce Barritt checks another promising selection in an evaluation plot in a commercial orchard.
Washington State University has granted an exclusive license for its first apple variety to the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, which plans to make it available to any Washington State [...]

  • WANTED: dwarfing pear rootstock

WANTED: dwarfing pear rootstock

  • September 1st, 2009

Since the pear industry still lacks a dwarfing rootstock, Dr. Todd Einhorn is experimenting with ways to improve light penetration in standard pear trees.

A dwarfing pear rootstock—equivalent to a Malling 9 rootstock for apples or Gisela rootstock for cherries—is needed so that pear growers can improve production efficiency and [...]