Good Fruit Grower

April 1

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Equipment before the difference is made up from your annual fuel bill. Riel agreed that cost of the unit must be considered over the useful life of the tractor. ���Paying a little more upfront for a machine that will last longer will save you money in the long run.��� How easy is it to operate? Marrs says that tractor simplicity is a common request from tree fruit and grape growers. ���Operators come and go on a farm. Tractor driving does not always go to the most experienced driver, so growers need tractors that are simpler and easier to understand in operating so the driver can be most effective,��� he said. Operator negligence is the most common cause of damage to orchard equipment, according to Marrs. Some 70 percent of the damage his company sees results from a lack of knowledge by the operator, such as driving a four-wheel-drive tractor improperly, not heeding important dashboard warnings, and such. What kind of support can the dealer provide? Service after the sale is important, as well as the amount of parts that the dealer stocks, proximity of the dealer to the customer, and the experience level and training of employees, Riel said. Does the tractor profile fit your operation���s specifications? Many growers plant their orchard, paying close attention to tree training, trellis design, and light 2 3 4 An example of an older tractor without modern-day features of a rollover protection structure (now mandatory) and an enclosed cab to protect workers during pesticide applications and provide comfort. Certi���ed Organic & Kosher crop aid that reduces sources of food to pests and bacteria interception. ���There���s often less concern about the space and turning room needed for the tractor,��� Marrs said. ���The tractor is almost an afterthought.��� In the last few years, major tractor manufacturers have offered narrow- and low-profile tractors to better fit orchards and vineyards planted to high-density spacings. Before these newer tractors, Blueline did a lot of tractor modifications for orchardists to make the tractor fit the planting system, Marrs said. Tires were changed, tractor fenders lowered, and more. Comfort for the operator has become an important design feature, he added. ���In these low-profile tractors, operator comfort in the cab has become a big issue.��� Things like air conditioning, seating comfort, and ease of using tractor controls are higher up on the want list than in the past. In addition to comfort, Riel said that safety of operating the tractor should be a concern, such as visibility to the implements and work area. Weight, torque, horsepower of the tractor, and getting the most efficient power to the ground are also important considerations. Used or new? In the past, Marrs found that growers typically used the life out of their tractors, putting 8,000 to 12,000 hours on the engine and running them until they were almost dead, with little value left. But with used equipment and tractor values on the rise, more growers are asking about the ���sweet spot��� (number of engine hours that gives the optimum resale value) for trade-ins and resales, he said. Used orchard tractors have value because there���s an emerging market for them in other parts of the world. 5 ��� FRUITGRADING EQUIPMENT PREHARVEST PROGRAM treats ��� ���re blight ��� mildew ��� scab ��� gummosis ��� codling moth ��� woolly aphid Also, increases sugar Brix in leaves & fruit. POST-HARVEST PROGRAM reduces ��� decay and rot in storage ��� ethylene production Tree Wash is not a pesticide. Distributors: Roger & Sally Ellis Organic Farms LLC Rober Ellis (509) 945-1718 Jim Davis (509) 945-2946 Tel. 877 826 3427 U.S. Packaging Systems Inc. Temple NH 03084 For more information, please call us or visit our Web site. Fruittek Sumas WA 98295 Tel. 603 566 9736 VAN WAMEL BV Energieweg 1 - P.O. Box 4, 6658 ZG Beneden-Leeuwen Holland Phone: +31(0)487 592944 Fax: +31(0)487 592970 E-mail: Website: GOOD FRUIT GROWER April 1, 2013 39

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