Reduced risk?

  • March 1st, 2012

A three-year study just completed in Michigan apple orchards showed that reduced-risk pesticides—which growers are now adopting—are more damaging to the functional ecology of the orchards than the products they are replacing.

Orchards using these reduced-risk pesticides have fewer beneficial organisms to help control pests, so growers will likely incur [...]

  • Trapping for grape mealybug

Trapping for grape mealybug

  • March 1st, 2012

Brian Bahder transfers a first-instar grape mealybug from a grapevine leafroll-diseased Concord vine to a healthy Concord vine to assess mealybug competency as a vector.
Melissa Hansen

With the insidious spread of grapevine leafroll disease in Washington State vineyards, Washington State University scientists have worked to help growers better detect [...]

  • Grape program feels budget cuts

Grape program feels budget cuts

  • February 1st, 2012

Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling is hopeful research funding will be restored in the next Farm Bill.

Though the viticulture and enology program at Washington State University has largely heldits own during the last five years of drastic cuts from state allocations, viticulture and enology researchers are feeling the squeeze from ­Congress’s [...]

  • Self-rooted trees cut costs

Self-rooted trees cut costs

  • December 1st, 2011

This is not a story out of a horticultural book of fables. It is a story to ruffle your imagination.

While the search goes on unabated for the elusive size-controlling precocious pear rootstock, an experiment at the Tatura Research Institute in Victoria, Australia, has shown that pear trees propagated on [...]

  • Vineland launches an apple breeding program

Vineland launches an apple breeding program

  • December 1st, 2011

Daryl Somers

A new apple breeding program was born this year, on the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario, Canada.

While operation of the infant program is just beginning, it has nurturing ­parents. The Ontario Apple Growers are backing the program; they want new varieties that potentially could be produced for export in [...]

  • Research spinoffs result in smarter sprayers

Research spinoffs result in smarter sprayers

  • December 1st, 2011

The variable output nozzles and adjustable louver, developed for this citrus sprayer as part of a specialty crop research project, should soon be available for tree fruit sprayers.

Using autonomous tractors to perform pesticide spraying is possible—and may one day be practical—but given the expense of equipment and liability concerns [...]

Good Point–Where has the roadmap led us?

  • December 1st, 2011

Was the Tree Fruit Technology Roadmap a success or failure?

Around ten years ago, this novel research initiative boldly declared that the tree fruit industry would not be profitable in the global marketplace unless it delivered the highest quality fruit to ­consumers and reduced production costs 30 percent.

I will concede [...]

  • $60-million boost

$60-million boost

  • December 1st, 2011

A mechanical harvester is part of a major research project relating to production and marketing of stem-free sweet cherries.

More than $60 million dollars in grants have been awarded so far through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative specifically for research ­projects in tree fruit and grapes.

This is the fourth year [...]

  • Collaborative research

Collaborative research

  • December 1st, 2011

An autonomous vehicle is being developed as part of the project “Comprehensive automation for specialty crops.”

The last Farm Bill not only provided an unprecedented amount of funding for research to benefit specialty crops, but changed the whole culture of tree fruit research in the United States.

It’s led to major [...]

Committee to advise on endowments

  • December 1st, 2011

An industry advisory committee has been formed to work with Washington State University to decide how to spend the money that will be generated by a special research assessment on Washington apples and pears.

The $1-per-ton assessment, which goes into effect with the 2012 crops, will provide $11 million for [...]

  • So, does it bruise the fruit?

So, does it bruise the fruit?

  • November 1st, 2011

The Picker Tech harvester is on tracks, making it easy to turn and reducing soil compaction.

A concern about mechanically assisted harvesting of fresh apples has been the amount of bruising that might be caused by the machine.

Dr. Ines Hanrahan, project manager with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, conducted [...]

  • On a FasTrack

On a FasTrack

  • November 1st, 2011

Horticulturist Ralph Scorza pollinates plum flowers while geneticist Ann Callahan measures sugar content and molecular biologist Chris Dardick measures fruit size. FasTrack allows scientists to pollinate flowers and evaluate fruit from the same plants in the greenhouse year round.

FasTrack is the name of a new plant breeding process developed [...]