Good Fruit Grower

May 15

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Test to predict cracking susceptibility Commission, is intended as a tool to help cherry growers make management decisions as harvest nears. Cracking susceptibility of an orchard is highly variable, G A cracking susceptibility test was developed by the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission to help growers make cost-effective decisions when rain threatens their cherry crops. involving hundreds of factors, said Dr. Ines Hanrahan, project manager for the Research Commission. "It varies year by year, by orchard, and even within the season. You can't just go by what happened in the orchard last year." For several years, she's been developing and validating CHOOSE FRESH. With over 400 growers, Chelan Fresh has built a reputation for providing premium fruit and proven merchandising programs. We work hard to balance innovation and sustainability, while returning a high value to growers. We're internationally respected, and never content to rest. Ready to grow? VISIT CALL 509-682-4252 a test that could be used by growers to predict a block's level of susceptibility to cracking. Such information would then be used by growers to decide which blocks war- rant application of anti- splitting agents or other management tools to reduce cracking. "If you know a block isn't suscep- tible, then you can focus on other orchards that may be more vunerable or valuable and be more cost effective with your actions," she said. To do the test: 1) Collect a 50-fruit sample in the morning from at least ten different trees to ensure the sample represents the block. 2) Submerge fruit sam- A simple test for the field. by Melissa Hansen rowers now have a simple test, done in the field or the back of a pickup, to predict if a cherry block is susceptible to rain- induced cracking and if preventive measures would be cost effective. The test, developed by the Washington Tree Fruit Research "If you know a block isn't susceptible, then you can focus on other orchards… and be more cost effective with your actions." —Ines Hanrahan ples in distilled water for two hours. (Make sure water is room tem- perature and not hot from sitting in the sun.) 3) Count the number of fruit showing cracks or splits. 4) Susceptibility rating: If any cracks are found, the block is susceptible to rain- induced cracking. Five fruit or more (rep- resenting 10 percent or higher of the sample) indicates the block is highly susceptible. Hanrahan said in developing the benchmark test, the results were corre- lated with cracking in the field after rain events. "We are quite confident the tests will give an accurate prediction of susceptibil- ity. We recommend doing the tests in orchards that are threatened by rain as harvest nears to help growers determine the economic benefits and thresholds of applying protective coatings." • 28 MAY 15, 2012 GOOD FRUIT GROWER Photo courtesy of Washington tree fruit research commission

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