Good Fruit Grower

July 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 39 Good Fruit Grower JULY 2016 31 The consultants T he three consultants hired by the state Department of Agriculture to draft a risk assessment of the apple maggot spread posed by organic waste for composting all have high credentials in the international pest management community. —Claire Sansford of York, England, a plant pathologist known for evaluating threats for the United Kingdom and the European Union. She has been an independent plant health consultant for three years. She previously worked 24 years for former government crop agencies in the United Kingdom, where she specialized in phytosanitary risks posed by plant waste. She was the primary author of the report. —Victor Mastro, a private consultant in Cotuit, Massachusetts. He previously served as entomologist and laboratory director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS. —James R. Reynolds, owner of a plant health consultancy in Fort Collins, Colorado. He previously worked as the Western Regional Director for APHIS's Plant Protection and Quarantine program. Another consultant — Jaak Ryckeboer, an expert in hygienic safety of organic waste processing in Brussels, Belgium — reviewed the 271-page document. In 2013, the city of Seattle contracted with Pacifi Clean Environmental of Spokane to transport and compost the city's green waste at a facility in Quincy, Washington. An alert fruit grower in the area read about the agreement in a local newspaper and told a state Agriculture Department offi cial he was worried about apple maggot. That was the fi rst the agency had heard of the issue. Seattle's well-publicized composting mandate for all residents took effect Jan. 1, 2015. Pacifi Clean began accepting the city's waste that February. On Feb. 3, the Department of Agriculture declared emergency authority to issue special permits for compost facilities that haul waste across the quarantine boundary, but allowed Pacifi Clean to continue while it worked out the details of the permit. On June 30, 2015, the Agriculture Department issued a special permit for the Pacifi Clean plant, located about 6 miles south of Quincy. Within a few days, inspectors found apple maggot larvae in apple waste in the Pacifi Clean processing line, according to Jim Marra, manager of the Agriculture Department's pest management program, and the agency suspended the permit on July 10. However, they still allowed the waste transfer if the company ground it before hauling. In August, inspectors continued to fi nd apples they feared could provide apple maggot habitat in the waste stream in Quincy and fi nally put a halt to all the shipments on Aug. 18. When all was said and done, Pacifi Clean processed more than 24,000 tons of Seattle waste during the seven months of operation. Later, inspectors also found an adult apple maggot fl y in a trap near Royal Organics, a Royal City compost company that in the past had accepted green waste from inside the quarantine but ceased when the Agriculture Department made the emergency rule. The fl y did not necessarily come from Royal Organics, offi cials said. The agency's traps catch some adults outside the quarantine every year. Pacifi Clean's dilemma The controversy has left Pacifi Clean in limbo. The company now is gauging the economic sense of the heat treatments called for in the risk assessment, General Manager Ryan Leong said. "We're in the process of evaluating all that and trying to determine if that's feasible," he said. For now, the company is unable to use the expansion made specifi cally for the Seattle contract that could have been worth more than $3 million per year and processed a projected 65,000 tons of waste. "A lot of money went into developing additional infrastructure," Leong said. He declined to reveal how much. In the meantime, Cedar Grove has temporarily resumed taking Seattle's waste. Pacifi Clean may have landed the biggest catch with the Seattle contract, but they were not fi shing uncharted waters. Other eastern Washington companies, such as Royal Organics and Natural Selection Farms in Sunnyside, had been accepting waste from quarantine areas before the fruit industry realized it. Their respective counties permitted it under Ecology's regulations. Meanwhile, the state Department of Agriculture has allowed other facilities to continue. Barr Tech in Lincoln County currently accepts municipal green waste from the Spokane area, which is inside the quarantine. In fact, department offi cials are planning to redraw the quarantine boundaries to include Barr Tech's portion of Lincoln County, reasoning that the apple maggot already is in the area, which is not home to any commercial fruit orchards anyway. Also, the department permits the Greater Wenatchee Landfi ll and Recycling Center to accept solid yard waste. Solid waste does not pose as big of a threat as organic waste, Marra said, as long as the city sending it separates solid waste from organics, such as food scraps, and the landfi ll covers and buries the solid waste right away. Douglas County also has active pest boards and advisors who understand apple maggot, Marra said. Fruit industry offi cials don't want to completely stop the state from recycling, they said. "It's not that the fruit industry has any problem with composting, per se," said Willett of the research commission. But the new risk assessment calls for a long-term plan that prevents the spread of the apple maggot and treats everybody fairly. "I believe that it argues for some level of standardization of processing," he said. • ONLINE The risk assessment is available on the Department of Agriculture website at "We don't want solid waste to stop moving because of apple maggot. If it doesn't move, we have a health issue." —Laurie Davies Claire Sansford Victor Mastro James R. Reynolds "One year after I watched my neighbor save most of his apple crop with Orchard-Rite ®wind machines (while I lost three quarters of mine), I decided I should do something on my farm to help ensure that I have fruit to sell every year. I purchased three Orchard-Rite ® wind machines and placed them where I had good trees but couldn't set good crops because of frost. One year the tart cherry orchard where I have a machine that covers the lower two-thirds of the orchard yielded 3 times more cherries than the one-third of the orchard that was not covered. That one machine in that one year paid for itself and half of another.We were able to raise the temperature 4 to 5 degrees (Fahrenheit). We have since added four more machines. With Orchard-Rite ® wind machines we are able to have a more consistent crop from the top of the tree to bottom every year on both apples and cherries. We are very pleased with the service we get on the wind machines. The Superior Wind Machine Service guys give them the once-over every year, keeping them in top-notch condition for the upcoming season!" -- Bob Bush Bush's Apples New Era, MI "With Orchard-Rite® wind machines we are able to have a more consistent crop from the top of the tree to bottom every year on both apples and cherries." 6919 Kra Avenue Caledonia, MI 49316 Phone: 616-971-8177 Fax: 616-971-8178

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - July 2016