Night shift: Harvesting apples at night

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

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  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

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  • May 15th, 2010

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  • Like firecrackers for the 4th of July

Like firecrackers for the 4th of July

  • May 15th, 2010

Hoxsie’s Farm Market is ideally located to serve a million tourists during the week of July 4—but he needs sweet cherries to attract them.

The National Cherry Festival drew a million people to Traverse City, Michigan, during the week starting July 4 last year, and, as the name says, it’s [...]

  • Clonal research takes years and money

Clonal research takes years and money

  • May 15th, 2010

UC staff member Jorge Osorio Aguilar weighs grapes from a Syrah clonal selection under test for San Joaquin Valley conditions.

To a grower, the right wine grape clone can improve yield, advance or delay ripening, and reduce susceptibility to rots. For a winemaker, the right clone can add complexity to [...]

Keeping cherry growing profitable

  • May 15th, 2010

A “dream team” of cherry researchers from across the nation is working on a project designed to help assure the profitability of the fresh sweet cherry industry in the future.

The project, entitled “A Total Systems Approach to Developing a Sustainable Stem-free Sweet Cherry Production, Processing and Marketing System,” was [...]

Grape clones: Learn by doing

  • May 15th, 2010

Without published research on which grape clones are best suited to Washington State conditions, growers must rely on the experiences and knowledge of others.

Washington growers are encouraged to do their own clonal trials to learn what works best on their site, but should be prepared for many years of [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Geneva releases four new rootstocks

Geneva releases four new rootstocks

  • May 15th, 2010

Four rootstocks were released this winter where they join seven others in the stable of Geneva apple rootstocks. Three of the new ones are more vigorous and larger than Malling 9, and one is in the size class with the M.9 Pajam 2 clone, which is slightly more vigorous [...]