New approaches to frost control

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

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  • Retrofitting an apple packing line

Retrofitting an apple packing line

  • April 1st, 2010

A Yakima, Washington, grower-packer operation wanted to upgrade its optical sorting capability but didn’t want to make expensive changes to the entire line. By retrofitting the outdated optics with a new system, color and size grade adjustments can now be made quickly with a few computer keystrokes.

Mike Saunders, Apple [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Irrigation options

Irrigation options

  • April 1st, 2010

Plantings at Yakima Valley Orchards are irrigated with drip. Travis Allan checks on a Honeycrisp block planted in 2007 where overhead sprinklers are being installed for frost protection.

An increasing number of orchardists are using drip irrigation systems to get their new orchard blocks off to a good start.

Tom Auvil, [...]

  • The lowdown on drip

The lowdown on drip

  • April 1st, 2010

Drip irrigation systems are designed to deliver water precisely and uniformly to the crop roots and often results in water savings. Water is applied in low volumes at frequent intervals.

There are two types of drip systems: a rigid drip tube that can be used as a permanent system and [...]

  • 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, [...]

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  • April 1st, 2010

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STOP BIRD DAMAGE. The American kestrel falcon is now looking for a home. Owl boxes and bat boxes also available. Call Ben at [...]

Stretching storage of Honeycrisp

  • February 15th, 2010

As production volumes increase for Honeycrisp apples, the need for a longer marketing window becomes more important. Researchers like Ines Hanrahan are looking for ways to stretch storage of Honeycrisp beyond Christmas.

With consumers and retailers clamoring for the popular variety, growers have responded to the strong demand by planting [...]

Searching for cherry cracking strategies

  • February 15th, 2010

When researching rain-induced cracking of sweet cherries, it’s obvious that rain is a requirement. Two years of research, though yielding little rain-induced cracking, have shown potential for reduced cracking from some materials, as well as a varietal difference in the timing of susceptibility to cracking.

The Washington Tree Fruit Research [...]

  • Matching trellis to variety and site

Matching trellis to variety and site

  • February 1st, 2010

Rocks are plentiful in this block of Syrah that will be trained to the vertical shoot positioned bilateral cordon.

Bringing out the terroir of Grand Rêve Estate Vineyard has been an involved process, says vineyard manager Ryan Johnson, requiring a number of different training systems in the small parcel on [...]

  • Time to test drive WA2

Time to test drive WA2

  • February 1st, 2010

WSU selections available for tasting, during a new variety showcase at the Washington State Horticultural Association’s annual meeting.

Washington apple growers are being offered the opportunity to evaluate Washington State University’s new variety WA2 in their orchards.

WSU has licensed the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission to make WA2 available to [...]