Good Fruit Grower

August 1

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 45 of 63

46 AUGUST 2015 Good Fruit Grower C olumbia Fruit Packers, based in Wenatchee, is one of several Washington apple producers who are experi- menting with mechanical pruning. Italian horticulturist Dr. Alberto Dorigoni, one of the world's authorities on mechanical pruning in modern orchard systems, visited the Pacifi c Northwest this spring to talk about his work. Dorigoni, who is based at the Institute of Agriculture at San Michele all'Adige in the South Tyrol, said the fruiting wall allows growers to increase economic and ecological sustainability by cutting chemical and labor inputs while maintaining high yields. In Europe, mechanical pruning or hedging is being used extensively. Tim Welsh, horticulturist and variet- ies manager at Columbia Fruit, travels frequently to Europe and said he was motivated to try mechanical pruning after seeing it used in Belgian orchards. What he liked about the technique was it created a fruiting wall with buds throughout the tree and good light penetration from top to bottom. "But I was convinced that hedging alone was not the answer for us because what I saw in some orchards was that they were living by hedging alone and there was this quagmire of branches," he said. "You could see the fruit quality would not be suffi cient for us." Welsh said mechanical pruning isn't a stand-alone technique. Because it's not selective, it makes good and bad cuts. Hand pruning is still needed during the dormant season to remove unwanted wood. But the hedging does make hand pruning more effi cient because workers can more easily select and reach limbs to prune so they can move more quickly in the fi eld. They're removing limbs, rather than shortening them. He's heard other growers say that mechanical pruning cut their labor costs for hand pruning by 15 to 25 percent. But Welsh says reducing pruning costs is not the main reason he's trying mechanical pruning. "My primary goal is to create premium fruit," he said, by which he means fruit with good eating quality, not necessarily higher color. Columbia Fruit began testing mechan- ical pruning last summer and bought a hedging machine from a supplier in New HEDGING to improve QUALITY A Washington grower-packer foresees multiple benefi ts from mechanical pruning. by Geraldine Warner A mechanical hedger can help growers save on labor costs, but the method may also improve fruit quality. Growers & Fruit Industry Truck Buyers. . . Partner up with your GMC Business Elite Dealer Lee Peterson Motors Every dollar counts in the ag business, and you need hard working trucks from a reliable dealer you can trust, your GMC Business Elite Dealer. 410 S. First Street • Yakima • 509-575-6372 L P MOTORS .com www Click! Drive! Save! MON-FRI 8 AM - 6 PM SAT 8 AM - 5 PM SUN 11 AM - 4 PM Business Elite Dealer. 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 Regular Cab Standard Box Rich Ausink Fleet Manager Jim Peterson General Manager The right truck customized to your specific agricultural businees needs. Amano Amano Amano Amano Amano Time Cloc Time Cloc Time Cloc Time Cloc Time Cloc ks ks ks ks ks Sa Sa Sa Sa Sa v v v v v e Y e Y e Y e Y e Y ou Mone ou Mone ou Mone ou Mone ou Mone y y y y y With automatic hours calculation right on the card, the MJR-7000 saves you time AND money every day. Come in today and learn how you can control your labor costs with an Amano time clock. 310 E. Chestnut, Yakima, WA 98901 509-453-7115 ● 800-327-9198 Serving Central Washington for over 100 Years

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - August 1