Platforms not widely used

  • December 1st, 2011

A recent survey of Washington State apple growers suggests that orchard platforms are not widely used there.

Just over 10 percent of respondents to a survey conducted last year by Washington State University said they were using platforms for orchard work. Unsuitable orchard structure was one of the main reasons [...]

  • Electronic trap saves labor

Electronic trap saves labor

  • November 1st, 2011

Johnny Park, engineer of the Z-Trap, was in Washington State recently to demonstrate a new codling moth trap that counts insects, sending trap data to a computer.
Melissa Hansen

An electronic trap for monitoring insect pests will free up growers or employees from the chore of checking trap catches every [...]

  • The Tangler

The Tangler

  • November 1st, 2011

Brett Bunker shows off the launcher he uses to dispense pheromone-containing capsules in apple trees. The clip in the magazine holds 25 capsules. Left: When the Tangler is launched, the capsule splits and the string wraps, bolo-like, when it strikes a tree branch. Early in the season, there is [...]

Fresh cherry harvester

  • November 1st, 2011

Picker Technologies, a Washington-based developer of automated equipment, is working on a mechanical harvesting solution for fresh ­cherries.

Sweet cherries have traditionally required a large work force to harvest and pack this highly perishable commodity.  The compressed nature of the harvest season, the fruit’s susceptibility to damage, and its relatively [...]

Technology for the packing house

  • November 1st, 2011

Inventions developed in the course of building a better apple-harvesting system might have application also in packing houses.

Picker Technologies developed special tubes for transporting fruit from the picker’s hand to its new harvesting system, and a special dry bin filler with a vertical drop. And, the electronic sizing and [...]

  • Safety regulations nix customized platforms

Safety regulations nix customized platforms

  • November 1st, 2011

A worker uses a Girette to prune trees.
Courtesy Flathead Cherry Growers, Montana

Regulators in British Columbia, Canada, have developed safety documentation for the elevated, mobile work platforms widely used in the province’s orchards—but have sidelined locally designed equipment that reflected local farming conditions.

WorkSafeBC, the organization that regulates workplace safety [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Postharvest potential for picking platform

Postharvest potential for picking platform

  • November 1st, 2011

George Lobisser sees potential for in-field postharvest treatments.
Geraldine Warner

When George Lobisser saw a new mobile apple-harvesting system in action, it wasn’t so much the labor efficiency that impressed him, but the 400-gallon water tank that’s on board.

Lobisser is owner and chief executive officer of Pace International, which manufactures [...]

  • Under-cover operation

Under-cover operation

  • November 1st, 2011

Workers wrap a rolled-up rain cover in black plastic to protect it through the winter. It remains attached to a cable above the tree row.
Geraldine Warner

To grow cherries in Europe without rain covers is difficult because of the high risk of fruit cracking and bird damage. Covers are [...]

  • Picker and sorter

Picker and sorter

  • November 1st, 2011

Miguel Geronimo found himself testing the new harvester during his first season as an apple picker. He previously worked in restaurants but was enjoying orchard work.

A new mobile harvesting system from Picker Technologies has the potential not just to speed up apple picking, but to enhance the value of [...]

  • Picker and platform

Picker and platform

  • November 1st, 2011

A four-person picking crew can have two on the ground or all four on the platform, but each pick into their own tube.

An apple harvest prototype machine that’s part of a national research effort to automate specialty crop production was put to test in Pacific Northwest orchards during the [...]

  • Multipurpose orchard cover

Multipurpose orchard cover

  • August 1st, 2011

Oregon State University Extension educator Lynn Long (right) asks partners Steve Agidius (left) and John Morton about the benefits of the Voen rain cover, which is installed over an acre of Agidius’s Rainier cherries in The Dalles, Oregon. The cover’s flaps open and close in the breeze.

Steve Agidius, a [...]