New approaches to frost control

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

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Cover crops and pest control

  • December 1st, 2009

Does attracting natural enemies to an orchard by planting a cover crop translate to better biological control of pests in the trees? Dr. David Horton, entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Yakima, Washington, hopes to find out.

Horton is conducting trials in a research orchard and three commercial [...]

Good Point – Jim McFerson

  • December 1st, 2009

Predictions and promises are easy enough, as long as they’re vague. On the other hand, few people really remember the predictions, so why not take a shot and even get specific? Here are some of mine, for the next ten years in the Pacific Northwest tree fruit industry.

Some things [...]

How many is too many?

  • December 1st, 2009

When it comes to new varieties, John Rice predicts that in the next decade, most retailers will offer five main apple varieties year round—Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Red Delicious—and use the sixth slot to feature seasonal varieties, like Honeycrisp in the early autumn months and other [...]

Field sorting culls

  • December 1st, 2009

One area of research that John Verbrugge thinks has been overlooked is field sorting of culls.

Verbrugge, new president of the Washington State Horticultural Association, said the industry has made great strides in developing a mechanical harvester that uses robotics, although when it is commercially ready, the harvester will require [...]

  • Growing nitrogen on the side

Growing nitrogen on the side

  • December 1st, 2009

Dr. Steve Fransen points out that the ladino clover had pink root nodules, indicating that it was fixing nitrogen.

As commercial nitrogen fertilizers become more expensive, and potentially more limited in supply, the idea of growing fertilizer in the orchard is being explored.

Quincy, Washington, fruit grower Warren Morgan, who is [...]

  • Extension educators

Extension educators

  • December 1st, 2009

WSU Extension educator Karen Lewis expects to see more technologies used in orchards to augment workers, in addition to platforms.

In the future, growers won’t need to get in the truck and drive to the coffee shop or to a neighbor’s orchard to find out what they’re doing. Instead, they’ll [...]

  • Market limitations

Market limitations

  • December 1st, 2009

How new varieties will coexist with those that have already carved out shelf space is the million-dollar question.

The biggest change from a marketer’s standpoint in the next decade will be the influence of the club varieties on the marketplace, says Bob Mast, marketing director at CMI (Columbia ­Marketing International) [...]

Cherry Institute looks to the future

  • December 1st, 2009

As the Pacific Northwest sweet cherry industry moves toward larger crops in the future, it will take the industry working together to achieve success, says the president of Northwest Cherry Growers. The Cherry Institute, scheduled for January 15 at the Convention Center in Yakima, Washington, aims to bring all [...]

  • Field sorting could bring a bonus

Field sorting could bring a bonus

  • December 1st, 2009

The recently planted WSU research orchard will allow study of planting designs for the future.

One of the new technologies Washington State University entomologist Dr. Jay Brunner expects and hopes to see in the next decade is automated sorting of fruit in the field. Apart from reducing a grower’s costs [...]

Identity crisis

  • December 1st, 2009

The flood of new apple varieties will continue until the consumer is so confused about the Washington apple identity that they might turn to something else that they can identify, predicts Dr. Don Heinicke, a grower at Orondo in north central Washington. Heinicke was asked to revisit the 1987 [...]

  • Research viewpoint

Research viewpoint

  • December 1st, 2009

Soft fruit breeder Ralph Scorza and colleagues developed this pitless plum.

Continuing budget constraints at U.S. universities will result in fewer scientists and less research for growers to draw upon, predicts Larry Gut, entomologist at Michigan State University.

“People are being laid off and let go,” Gut said. “I’m afraid it [...]

  • Past, present, and future

Past, present, and future

  • December 1st, 2009

Chuck Peters designed his new pear orchard with mechanization and new technologies in mind.

It might be possible to develop apples with yet-to-be-identified health benefits, says orchardist Chuck Peters.

When Chuck Peters, a pear grower from Yakima, Washington, was asked in 1987 to predict what the fruit industry would be dealing [...]