Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

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  • June 1st, 2010

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  • 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, [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • You hear that buzz?

You hear that buzz?

  • May 15th, 2010

SweeTango orchards like this one at Pepin Heights produced enough fruit last year to start the buzz, which could rise to a crescendo this August if a good crop and the marketing plan come together as planned.

SweeTango apples will, nature cooperating, begin flowing to market in commercial quantities in [...]

  • Cherries with stems

Cherries with stems

  • May 15th, 2010

The challenge is getting the cherry to separate at the upper abscission zone at the twig.

In the complex world of sweet cherries, one market is calling for light-colored sweet cherries with stems on for processing, and is willing to pay three to four times the normal processing price to [...]

  • Geneva releases FOUR new rootstocks

Geneva releases FOUR new rootstocks

  • May 15th, 2010

This rootstock, commercialized as Geneva 214, is one of four newly released from the New York breeding program. Growers on tour with the International Fruit Tree Association waded deep snow to look them over at the Wittenbach farm in Belding, Michigan, in early March. Resistance to fireblight is one [...]

Classified Ads

  • May 15th, 2010

BIRD CONTROL
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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 [...]