• Farming THE SUN

Farming THE SUN

  • December 1st, 2010

Sol Orchard installed this one-megawatt solar panel project for California’s Victor Valley College.

Imagine a crop without worries of labor, pests, rain during harvest, and rising fertilizer costs. In the near future, there’s potential for such a crop, and it’s one that most growers could produce with little impact on [...]

  • Destiny Ridge Vineyard puts the wind to work

Destiny Ridge Vineyard puts the wind to work

  • December 1st, 2010

Jarrod Boyle, winemaker at Alexandria Nicole Cellars and managing partner of Destiny Ridge Vineyards, likes the looks of the new turbines.

The vertical wind turbines look more like artwork than they do wind machines, Jarrod Boyle says of the renewable energy project installed at Destiny Ridge Vineyards/Alexandria Nicole Cellars.

Since September, [...]

  • Bin hauler becomes orchard platform

Bin hauler becomes orchard platform

  • December 1st, 2010

The Bin Bandit hauls bins during the harvest season, and a platform sits on it for use in thinning, pruning, and tree training.

A machinery manufacturer came to Lamont Fruit Farm three seasons ago, wanting to ­demonstrate a five-bin pickup system to see how the machine, developed as a harvest [...]

  • Tree IVs?

Tree IVs?

  • December 1st, 2010

This injector was tested with apple trees.

Might the airblast sprayer in the future be replaced by IV tubes jabbed in fruit trees?

Michigan State University entomologist Dr. John Wise decided to see if he could control apple insects by injecting insecticides into the tree trunk—much as landscapers now do with [...]

  • Electric vehicle has power

Electric vehicle has power

  • December 1st, 2010

Karen Lewis and Gwen Hoheisel (standing) demonstrate how an electric utility vehicle can be used for herbicide spraying with the WeedSeeker technology.

Karen Lewis and Gwen Hoheisel, Washington State University Extension educators, say an electric all-terrain vehicle that they’re evaluating has met or exceeded all their expectations in research plots.

The [...]

Nurseries need a tree counter

  • December 1st, 2010

Robotics scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania set out to develop a device to automatically measure the caliper of nursery trees in the field, but found that a simple tree counter would be more useful for the tree fruit industry.

Dr. Sanjiv Singh and colleagues began to develop the [...]

  • The Monster MASH

The Monster MASH

  • December 1st, 2010

As grapes vibrate across the MOG separating table, seeds and shot berries fall through the screen. The bar in the front is a newly added air knife to remove light material as the grapes fall.

The relatively new processing station at Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Canoe Ridge Estate winery—with its one-of-a [...]

  • Platform transforms orchard work

Platform transforms orchard work

  • December 1st, 2010

Tom DeMarree bought this Blosi platform and uses it for many tasks, including installing trellis wire.

Workers crimp stabilizer wires onto trellis wires. The stabilizer wires eliminate the need for additional stakes
or posts.
Two years ago, the Lake Ontario Fruit Program, with a Northeast Risk Management grant and funds [...]

Fruit region is electric vehicle hub

  • December 1st, 2010

The days of 30-cents-per-gallon gasoline are long gone, but new electric vehicles can run on the equivalent of that in areas of the country where power rates are low.

North central Washington State, with its cheap hydropower and emerging wind and solar projects, has become a hub for efforts to [...]

REAP can benefit orchardists

  • December 1st, 2010

Fruit growers have been less likely than other farmers to tap into funds available under the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), but some have found opportunity.

Chip and Karla Bailey of Williamson, New York, obtained grants that helped them buy a wind turbine and an array of solar [...]

  • Reflective fabric = more pears

Reflective fabric = more pears

  • September 1st, 2010

Researchers are finding that a reflective mulch in the rows of a mature pear orchard can significantly increase yields by directing more light into the lower canopy.

We are investigating application of Extenday reflective fabric to alleyways of fully mature d’Anjou pear canopies to determine whether or not fabric treatments [...]

  • Mechanical thin cherries

Mechanical thin cherries

  • August 1st, 2010

The Darwin string thinner is attached to the front of the tractor. The Bonner is in the background.
Mechanical thinning equipment has been tested for several years during bloom on apples and soft fruits, such as peaches and nectarines, but is now being tested prebloom for cherry thinning.

Two mechanical [...]