Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • New York growers join the club

New York growers join the club

  • July 1st, 2010

New York 1 is a Honeycrisp offspring without many of its flaws, and New York growers indicate they want to plant it.

In announcing its formation last August, NYAG LLC, also known as New York Apple Growers, set out a game plan for a managed variety “club” made up of [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

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  • June 1st, 2010

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  • 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 [...]

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 [...]

  • 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, [...]

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 [...]

  • Moth poses little risk in Taiwan

Moth poses little risk in Taiwan

  • May 15th, 2010

Dr. Lisa Neven is studying the survival of codling moth larvae in tropical conditions.

There is little risk of codling moth larvae shipped in apples to Taiwan resulting in the pest becoming established in that country, research by Dr. Lisa Neven, insect physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research [...]

  • Maine apples wanted

Maine apples wanted

  • May 15th, 2010

John Bunker examines an apple at the Sandy River Orchard, Mercer, Maine, with 90-year-old Francis Fenton, owner (in blue).

These are some of the varieties John Bunker is seeking:

Briggs Auburn: Originated on the farm of Thomas Record of Minot (then part of Auburn). The fruit is large and yellow with [...]