Good Fruit Grower

March 15

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Quality expectations RISE Growers will need to focus more on quality as cherry production increases. Randy Abhold Robert Kershaw by Geraldine Warner ith 100,000 acres of sweet cherries in the ground in the Pacific Northwest, not all growers or orchards will be successful in the future, a panel of marketers warned during the annual Cherry Institute meeting. Mike Taylor, vice president of sales and marketing at Stemilt Growers, Inc., Wenatchee, Washington, said that with so many acres in the ground, Northwest fresh cherry production has the potential to more than double in the next few years from the 23 million packs produced in 2012 to 50 million. "Not all cherry orchards are going to make it," he said. "We have to understand that the business is cyclical, and when there's a lot of volume, you get quality inflation." Taylor said the industry has reached the point where a minimum —Mike Taylor size—larger than the current 12-row minimum—needs to be established through the cherry marketing order. The objective would not be to send more cherries down the cull chute, but to change grower psychology and growing practices. It would encourage growers to change the way they prune, increase gibberellin rates, and pay close attention to harvest maturity. Producers will all need to be self critical and analyze their strengths and weaknesses, he said. "Each of us has Slip-on NoMate® CM some cherries that need work, and we have to address spirals consistently release that." volatilizing solid-matrix Growers should strive to produce cherries at least 10 pheromone through row in size with 350 grams-per-millimeter pressure and a flexible PVC dispensers. 20-Brix level on dark red varieties in order for them to be competitive at retail, he said. Female moth scent "Understand where you have weak trees and weak limbs and have the courage to walk past them." Mike Taylor Consistent, Season-Long Codling Moth Control NoMate® CM Spiral is superior by design and performance for codling moth mating disruption in apple and pear orchards. No competing product goes on more easily, works harder, or gets better results. Pest-Effective: • Season-long mating disruption • More starting active ingredient • 20% more pheromone released during the growing season Cost-Effective: • Season-long control with one application • Hand-application costs cut in half; no labor-intensive twist-ons • Minimal regulation • No harm to beneficial insects • No girdling losses For more information, call 1-800-735-5323 or visit 30 March 15, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER plumes are overwhelmed, thwarting male moth mating efforts. 610 Central Avenue Billings, MT 59102 (406) 248-5856 1-800-735-5323 NoMate® CM Spiral is designed, manufactured, and supported in the United States by Scentry Biologicals, Inc., maker of the first pheromone-based product approved by the U.S. EPA. Huge yields Over the past few years, the industry has made a transition to new, self-fertile varieties that are able to generate huge yields, Taylor noted. "Yield drives the economic model, but in the long run, it can become the curse of the whole thing, too. "Do not get tempted to swing for volume over quality," he urged. "Understand what to leave in the field. All of us have got away from strip-picking every single tree. Skip the edges. Understand where you have weak trees and weak limbs and have the courage to walk past them. The market's not going to be short—we're going to have plenty of product and not everything is going to go in a box." Stemilt's growers try to field sort down to 10 percent culls or less, because it's cheaper to sort them out in the field than at the warehouse. During the season, the company analyzes what volume of cherries it expects to receive on a given day, where the product will be sold, and where the threshold of profitability is in terms of estimated returns. "We try to message growers not to pick if the data points on that specific block don't measure up against the marketplace," Taylor said. "You're better off to know that in advance." He recommended that growers work closely with their sales and marketing agencies. "Understand where they're long and where they're short and how you fit with them,"

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