• Organic fertilizer calculator

Organic fertilizer calculator

  • April 15th, 2010

Oregon State University has developed a tool to help growers compare the cost, nutrient value, and nitrogen availability of organic fertilizers.

The Organic Fertilizer Calculator is an online Excel-based calculator designed to help farmers compare organic fertilizers and plan the most balanced and cost-effective fertilizer program for their farm. Growers [...]

  • Constructing a trellis

Constructing a trellis

  • April 15th, 2010

When planting an orchard, don’t forget to leave room for the anchor, which is the most critical component of a trellis. It should be as far away from the end post as the height of the post, and the end post should lean slightly towards the anchor.

Anchors are the [...]

  • Retrofitting an apple packing line

Retrofitting an apple packing line

  • April 1st, 2010

A Yakima, Washington, grower-packer operation wanted to upgrade its optical sorting capability but didn’t want to make expensive changes to the entire line. By retrofitting the outdated optics with a new system, color and size grade adjustments can now be made quickly with a few computer keystrokes.

Mike Saunders, Apple [...]

Classified Ads

  • April 1st, 2010

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Good Stuff

  • April 1st, 2010

Dream tractor?
The Mach 4 is an articulated reversible quad-track vehicle for specialized farming. Launched in Italy in 2008 as a “dream tractor,” it is now one of the leading models that Antonio Carraro produces. It is a universal vehicle designed to handle extreme working conditions on any kind [...]

  • Reduce compaction

Reduce compaction

  • April 1st, 2010

Juice grape growers in Washington State have found a way to aerate the soil, relieve soil compaction, and reduce farming costs.

An aerator implement that uses metal fingers to loosen the soil is finding favor in the grape industry. Forage and grain crop farmers have found the implement is useful in [...]

  • Irrigation options

Irrigation options

  • April 1st, 2010

Plantings at Yakima Valley Orchards are irrigated with drip. Travis Allan checks on a Honeycrisp block planted in 2007 where overhead sprinklers are being installed for frost protection.

An increasing number of orchardists are using drip irrigation systems to get their new orchard blocks off to a good start.

Tom Auvil, [...]

  • The lowdown on drip

The lowdown on drip

  • April 1st, 2010

Drip irrigation systems are designed to deliver water precisely and uniformly to the crop roots and often results in water savings. Water is applied in low volumes at frequent intervals.

There are two types of drip systems: a rigid drip tube that can be used as a permanent system and [...]

  • Tree planter pays dividends

Tree planter pays dividends

  • April 1st, 2010

Yakima Valley Orchards designed and built its own three-row tree planting machine.

Yakima Valley Orchards used to plant trees by hand, with workers digging holes with shovels. Now, it has a three-row planting machine that has cut labor costs in half. But, Travis Allan, operations manager, said the real value [...]

  • Mechanical thinning works

Mechanical thinning works

  • April 1st, 2010

The mechanical string thinner knocked off 15 percent or more dormant buds in this Santina block. Right: The Darwin string thinner.

Soft fruit growers in the United States are catching on to what seems to have been a well-kept secret in Germany. With three years of data by U.S. researchers [...]

Hand-held thinning tool

  • April 1st, 2010

Much of the research in orchard innovation involves automation and robotics, but not every orchard can accommodate technology like mechanized harvesters and mechanical thinners. That’s why a Washington State University engineer is also looking for technology that could augment hand labor.

Dr. Qin Zhang, a biological systems engineer for WSU, [...]

  • It just got out of hand

It just got out of hand

  • April 1st, 2010

Phil Brown Welding officially started business in 1964, after some years as an unofficial provider of specialized fruit industry equipment.

“My dad was a fruit grower,” Phil said. “We started building machines for our use, and then began building stuff for the neighbors. It just got out of hand.”

His brother, [...]