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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • South Carolina peach breeder wants better peaches, faster

South Carolina peach breeder wants better peaches, faster

  • November 1st, 2011

Ksenija Gasic heads Clemson University’s peach-breeding program, which was recently revived after a 25-year hiatus.
Richard Lehnert

One of the great things about being a peach breeder in a new peach breeding program is no hangover—nothing left, no seedlings to evaluate, no big shoes to fill.

That’s the situation Dr. Ksenija [...]

  • 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 [...]

Wine industry backs new center

  • October 1st, 2011

The Washington Wine Commission’s commitment of $7.4 million towards the cost of building a Wine Science Center at Washington State University’s Tri-Cities campus gives the fundraising effort an important boost, says Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling, director of WSU’s viticulture and enology program.

The center will house WSU’s rapidly expanding viticulture and [...]

  • East Malling pilgrimage

East Malling pilgrimage

  • October 1st, 2011

Jon Clements of the University of Massachusetts, left, admires trees at the Hatton Fruit Gardens in East Malling, which is named after Ronald Hatton, originator of the Malling apple rootstocks. Trees in the garden have been trained and pruned to 25 different configurations including cordons, espaliers, goblets, pyramids, fans, [...]

  • Quince evaluated for hardiness

Quince evaluated for hardiness

  • September 1st, 2011

Pear trees are inherently inefficient at ­partitioning growth resources to fruit. Modern-day pear rootstock/scion ­combinations typically used in the United States are vigorous, resulting in trees that require ample space for their structural development.

Low tree densities are slow to attain maximum production levels; ­consequently, the time required to recoup [...]

Tree fruit research is WSU priority

  • August 1st, 2011

The top tree fruit industry in the nation requires and deserves one of the nation’s elite research and education programs. When I arrived at Washington State University six years ago, I indicated that tree fruit programs would receive a disproportionate share of investment, and that is exactly what has [...]

Building a better fly trap

  • August 1st, 2011

The spotted wing drosophila is easy to catch using cheap and readily available baits.

Apple cider vinegar is being recommended for homemade traps in the Pacific Northwest. A cheap red wine can be used, also.

But what is it about wine or vinegar that the flies find so attractive?

This is a [...]

Problems with pear ripening

  • August 1st, 2011

The ripening inhibitor SmartFresh (MCP) holds promise for maintaining pear quality over a longer period of time and reducing disorders such as scald, but the pear industry reports that some treated pears won’t ripen.

Dr. Eugene Kupferman, retired Washington State University postharvest specialist, said Bartlett pears, which are harvested in [...]