Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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More cherries in the pipeline

  • December 1st, 2010

New, late-maturing cherry varieties developed in British Columbia, Canada, have helped keep the province’s cherry growers in ­business.

“At one stage, the cherry industry was dwindling away until these late varieties were introduced,” recalled Dr. Frank Kappel, cherry breeder at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland.

The Summerland program continues [...]

  • Low-volume prestorage drenching is attractive

Low-volume prestorage drenching is attractive

  • October 1st, 2010

Dave Rosenberger described how he tested the effectiveness of low-volume nonrecycling drenches for fruit going into storage. His audience included New York fruit growers and International Fruit Tree Association members on tour during the fruit field day at Cornell Agricultural Research Station at Geneva, New York.

The practice of drenching [...]

Mysterious ailment strikes

  • October 1st, 2010

A mysterious disease that has been killing the best looking, reddest strains of McIntosh apples in the nicest orchards in the northwest quadrant of Michigan has tentatively been identified, and growers now have some idea what to do about it.

“We’re not quite there yet,” said Dr. George Sundin, the [...]

Ripe cherries are less likely to pit

  • October 1st, 2010

It’s generally believed that riper cherries are more susceptible to pitting than less mature cherries, but Dr. Peter Toivonen, postharvest physiologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in British Columbia, said results of his research show it’s exactly the opposite. There are fewer pitting problems with darker cherries.

“For a lot [...]

  • Is drosophila a Washington State resident?

Is drosophila a Washington State resident?

  • October 1st, 2010

Entomologists in the Pacific Northwest intend to find out how well the spotted wing drosophila can survive the region’s cold winters.

The pest, a native of Asia, was first seen in ­California in 2008. It was found in Oregon and British Columbia in 2009, and turned up in eastern ­Washington [...]

WSU releases second new apple, called WA 5

  • October 1st, 2010

Just a year after the release of WA 2, WSU’s apple breeding program in Wenatchee is releasing its second new cultivar, WA 5. WA 5 is sufficiently different from WA 2 in ripening season, appearance, and eating quality to justify its release.

With a bright orange-red stripe covering 60 to [...]

In the Box

  • October 1st, 2010

Dear Good Fruit Grower:
Can sweet cherries be grown in USDA climate zone 4—successfully?

I live 20 miles north of Minneapolis in Minnesota. In the spring of 2008, I put in a test plot of sweet cherries. I planted 170 bare root trees in a Spanish Bush setting of six [...]

  • Steps to commercialization

Steps to commercialization

  • October 1st, 2010

New apple varieties from Washington State University are evaluated and ­commercialized under the following general guidelines.

Phase 1: Initial seedling selection and evaluation The Washington Apple Breeding Program evaluates many thousands of seedlings, with input from its Industry Advisory Council. The breeding program identifies selections for ­advancement to Phase 2.

Phase 2: [...]

  • Totally RED

Totally RED

  • October 1st, 2010

Because the red pigments are antioxidants, red-fleshed apples do not turn brown when sliced.

Swiss nursery owner and fruit breeder Markus Kobelt hit the headlines across Europe with the ­latest apple varieties he released. They are among the first red-fleshed apples in the world to go into commercial production.

Kobelt, who [...]

Keeping the customer satisfied

  • October 1st, 2010

Over the past ten years I have initiated a number of research trials that, when taken together, tell an important story about the link between apple quality and profitability. I often quote my mantra that “we are in the food business” along with McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and even the slow [...]

  • Pear breeding moves toward better varieties

Pear breeding moves toward better varieties

  • September 1st, 2010

Richard Bell works to develop better pears with the flavor of Bartlett and resistance to fireblight and pear psylla, and more precocious.

One of the problems with pears is their lack of precocity. They stay juvenile, taking up valuable space and waiting just too long to grow up and produce [...]

  • Reflective fabric = more pears

Reflective fabric = more pears

  • September 1st, 2010

Researchers are finding that a reflective mulch in the rows of a mature pear orchard can significantly increase yields by directing more light into the lower canopy.

We are investigating application of Extenday reflective fabric to alleyways of fully mature d’Anjou pear canopies to determine whether or not fabric treatments [...]