• Fruiting walls suit machinery

Fruiting walls suit machinery

  • January 15th, 2011

The Institute of Agriculture at San Michele All’Adige looks for ways that orchardists and vineyardists can farm more efficiently and reduce labor needs. Following an intensive thinning study by the institute, more than 40 mechanical thinners are now in operation in Italian orchards. But their latest focus is ­trying [...]

  • Plethora of platforms

Plethora of platforms

  • January 15th, 2011

Above, left: Called the Trifrut, this three-wheeled, hydraulic transmission tractor has a low profile for orchard canopies and a low center of gravity. Made by FACMA of Italy.

Published January 15, 2011

Self-propelled elevating orchard platforms designed for slopes, harvesting ­platforms with boxes that mechanically empty into bins, platforms run by [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Vacuum harvester passes bruising tests

Vacuum harvester passes bruising tests

  • December 1st, 2010

Critical components of the DBR harvester are the vacuum tubes (green ones carry apples), the decelerator wheels (circular steel), and the elephant-ear fruit distributor (fan-like device above apples). Here, a full bin is being lowered to the ground during a demonstration at Mike Rasch’s orchard in August.

The vacuum system [...]

  • Electric-tractor maker gears up

Electric-tractor maker gears up

  • December 1st, 2010

Steve Heckeroth had a number of potential buyers for his crawler tractor when the price of gas and diesel was high.

Alternative-energy enthusiast Steve Heckeroth says the increasing use of electric tractors will depend largely on the economics, even though there are other good reasons to switch from ­fossil fuels.

Heckeroth, [...]

  • How do platforms impact workers?

How do platforms impact workers?

  • December 1st, 2010

Kit Galvin of the University of Washington explains how she is studying the health impacts of platform work. Rolf Luehs (on the platform), research assistant with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, demonstrates how workers wear monitors to measure their body movements and heart rate.

University of Washington scientists are [...]