Light Sensor Meter

Spectrum Technologies, Inc., has introduced a Field Scout External Light Sensor Meter, for measuring ultraviolet light, quantum light, or solar radiation. The meter attaches to all Spectrum light sensors, which come with six-foot cables. Spectrum light sensors feature cosine correcting diffusion disks to ensure aggregate accuracy when used to measure 24-hour incident light. For information or to receive a free catalog of the company’s weather and field measurement technologies, call (800) 248-8873 or go to

Altacor Registered

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency have approved the registrations of the insecticide Altacor (rynaxypyr) for use in pome fruits, stone fruits, and grapes. The product was first sold in 2007 in the Philippines and Indonesia, and is being registered in many other countries, according to manufacturer DuPont.

Compostable Packages

Earthcycle Packaging of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, offers compostable packaging made from palm fiber, which composts in less than 90 days. Its latest packages are designed for a wide range of fresh produce, including apples. For more information, check the Web site at

Bird BLazer

Bird-X, Inc., has introduced a laser bird deterrent called BLazer for use in plants, warehouses, parking facilities, loading docks, and distribution centers. The laser operates on 110-volt electricity with no oversight or maintenance required. The output is constantly changed to prevent acclimation. For information, check the Web site at

New Miticide

Chemtura Corporation has launched an abamectin-based miticide called Temprano for use on a wide range of crops, including tree fruit and vines, to control pests such as two-spotted spider mites, European red mites, thrips, and leafminers.


A new method for determining the proper time to harvest pears has been developed by a Dutch biotech company called NSure. RipeNSure, which measures the activity profile of pear genes, was launched in the Netherlands in 2007.

The RipeNSure assay is fast, cost efficient, and highly accurate, the company states in a press release. The technology was developed at the Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands and was acquired by NSure in 2006. It can be used to plan harvest when several blocks have to be harvested and can give an early indication of the optimal harvest timing for long-term storage (three to four weeks in advance).

Monique van Wordragen, NSure’s managing director, explains that all biological processes in a fruit tree are ­ultimately directed by its genes, which operate as switches. They can be turned on or off, and in that way they steer the biological development and the responses of the fruit to changing environmental conditions. Ripening of fruit is a complex process controlled by dozens of genes that are influenced by factors such as weather conditions or the nutritional status of the tree. By using RipeNSure, it can be determined which genes are active, and that ­indicates how far ripening has proceeded.

The test takes up to two working days, and the samples can be taken at the orchard. The device is available only for Conference pears, but NSure is adapting the test for other pear and apple varieties.

For information, check the Web site at

Baritone Bt

AgraQuest, Inc., has launched a new insecticide called Baritone derived from the kurstaki strain BMP 123 of the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The strain is as effective as older kurstaki strains but is less expensive to produce and is new to the U.S. market, according to a press release from the company.

The product is registered for use on a broad range of crops for control of lepidopterous insects, including loopers, armyworms, and moths, and should allow growers to control pests at a lower cost, the company states.

Organic Herbicide

GreenMatch EX, a burndown herbicide from Marrone Organic Innovations, Inc., has been approved for use in organic food production by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. The product was launched in the western United States to target weeds such as spurge, thistle, crabgrass, and bindweed. The active ingredient in GreenMatch is a citrus oil extract called d-limonene, which is a natural degreasing agent that strips away the waxy cuticle from weeds’ leaves, causing fast wilting (necrosis), dehydration, and death.

Xtend Packaging

H.R. Spinner Corporation of Wenatchee, Washington, is offering the modified atmosphere/modified humidity Xtend packaging from StePac. The polymer-based packaging allows excess moisture to escape from the bag, reducing the risk of decay from microorganisms. Xtend packaging allows produce to be shipped by land and sea, rather than airfreight, because of the extended shelf life.

In addition to regular modified atmosphere/modified humidity bags, the company supplies lidding films for produce items such as cherries; modified atmosphere resealable zipper storage bags for cherries; and peel-and-seal bags, which regenerate the modified atmosphere each time the bag is resealed, keeping produce fresher longer in consumers’ refrigerators.

StePac is developing biodegradable modified atmosphere packaging, which will be on the market soon.

For more information, check the Web site at

Wonder Grow

Bio Implementation, a California company that specializes in organic farming products, has introduced a plant food called Wonder Grow, made from yucca and seaweed. The product is approved by the National Organics Program as an organic soil amendment in fruit production. For information, call (888) 460-8536 or check the Web site at