Good Fruit Grower

April 1

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 55 GOOD FRUIT GROWER APRIL 1, 2015 19 leaching. He applies an ultra-violet sunburn protectant to the fruit. Today's technology marries soil moisture measure- ments with smart phone and tablet portability to make monitoring user friendly. Divis uses the irrigation man- agement program provided by a consulting service that incorporates dielectric capacitance soil moisture probes with data loggers to provide real-time information that's delivered via the Internet. Soil moisture levels are com- bined with ET (evapotranspiration) rate, weather data, crop growth, and other factors that influence irrigation. "My soil moisture is updated every day, and I have an app on my smart phone that shows me where we're at," he said. "I look at the graphs every Monday with my team, and we decide if we want to put on a full set, half, or skip irrigation completely for the week." He estimated that, over the last two seasons, he has reduced the irrigation amounts by half in his Honeycrisp blocks. For much of the summer, he now irrigates six-hour sets instead of what used to be 12 hours. He credits the reduction of irrigation for helping improve his Honeycrisp fruit quality. When Divis first began growing tree fruit in the mid-1980s, he used ceramic-tipped soil probes to help him monitor soil moisture. "But today's technol- ogy has made monitoring so easy. Now, we have all the information at our fingertips on our cell phones." Nutrition changes Divis also changed his nutrition program for Honeycrisp. His yearlong nutrient program begins with a postharvest soil test, with amendments made in fall or spring according to the sample results. In spring, a min- eral analysis is run on fruitlets, with foliar applications of nutrients, including calcium chloride based on the fruitlet analysis. In mid-summer, he takes another soil sample, applying amendments if needed. Prior to harvest, fruit are sampled again for minerals. "I want my soil moisture and nutrition to be working together," he said, explaining that he's careful not to drown soil microbes (which need to be working to remo- bilize minerals and nutrients) from too much water in early spring. He starts spring irrigations three weeks later than some of his neighbors. Good, bad, and ugly Divis tags each Honeycrisp bin at harvest with red, yellow, or green bin tags to denote storage potential. Fruit with red tags are run over the packing line first and are first in line for shipping. ""We run the ugly fruit (red tag) as fast as we can, so we can ship it down the road," he said. Yellow tags go next and the good fruit (green tags) are held in storage for strategic marketing. By tagging bins at harvest, the pack- ing house receiving crew knows how to manage the fruit, he said, and added that growers who take the option of long-term storage do so at their own risk and stand alone in the grower pool. Some don't want to take that risk of low packouts. The bin tagging requires extra data collection, record keeping, and management. "We have 30 different lots of Honeycrisp that we have to identify and categorize at harvest," he said. A host of factors go into deciding the bin tag color, including block age and history, crop load and fruit size, maturity/storage index at harvest, fruit starch, pressure and acid levels, and grower willingness to take risk. • "I want my soil moisture and nutrition to be working together." —Jim Divis Call us FIRST for the largest selection of trees and rootstocks available Future contracts for cherries, pears, & apples; ALL ROOTSTOCKS. NEW APPLE rootstock! 1-800-421-4001 Phone: 503-538-2131 Fax: 503-538-7616 E-mail: Web: INC. Representing Over 30 Leading Nurseries in the U.S. and Europe From the breeders of Bud 9: • Vigor between M-9 T337 and M-9 Pajam®2 • Yield efficiency similar to M-9 T337 • Dwarfing • Cold hardy • Disease resistant • Fireblight tolerant B10 ® cv. Mich 96 USPP 21,223 Services are FREE TO GROWERS!

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - April 1