Good Fruit Grower

October 2016

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36 OCTOBER 2016 Good Fruit Grower Darwin thinning followed by MaxCel application shows promise for Galas and Honeycrisps. by Dave Weinstock W hole Foods Markets a c c e p t e d a p p l e s treated with carbaryl for the last time Sept. 25, marking the fifth organophosphate chemical it has banned from use on products sold in its stores. Whether Whole Foods' actions become a trend for other supermarket chains — or if the federal government or states consider canceling the registra- tion for carbaryl — remains to be seen. Regardless, new research shows the promise of mechanical thinning as an alternative. "I'm not sure that its loss is imminent, but it seems to be a threat every year," said Rod Farrow, a Waterport, New York, apple grower and vice president of the International Fruit Tree Association. It would be a tough loss for Northeastern U.S. fruit growers — nearly all chemically thin in the early part of the year using NAA (naphthaleneacetic acid) plus carbaryl or BA (benzyladenine) plus carbaryl. "If carbaryl were removed from the market, apple growers in the Northeast would not achieve adequate thinning with NAA or BA alone," said Mario Miranda Sazo, a fruit exten- sion specialist in Cornell Cooperative Extension's Lake Ontario Fruit program. That's why Farrow approached Miranda Sazo three years ago with a request to look at mechanical thinning as an alternative to using carbaryl. After securing funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education pro- gram and New York Apple Research and Development, Miranda Sazo set about the three-year study. First-year results were not encourag- ing because fruit size ended up being too small. However, Miranda Sazo reported to growers who attended the 2016 IFTA New York Study Tour in July that he and Lamont Farms personnel have since been able to employ techniques that didn't reduce fruit size and produced fruit at rates comparable to standard chemical thinning programs. The proper rpm The Lamont Farm canopies form a very rectangular tree, with a compact box and shoots no more than 12 to 14 inches from the trunk. "We believe they are the right canopies for using the thinner," Miranda Sazo said. Trees were 7 to 9 years old and trained to a super spindle system. All were planted on Bud 9 rootstock in 2-foot tree spacings with 11 feet between rows. In May 2014, the first year of the trial, Jason Woodworth, one of Farrow's Lamont Farm partners, ran a Darwin thinner through four rows of Gala and Honeycrisp trees at 240 rpm at 5 mph. King flowers were at 70 to 80 percent bloom and balloon stage for the laterals. It was too hard on the cultivars. "When we evaluated it, it was a lot harder on the apples, especially the Honeycrisps. We lost shoots and b r o k e s p u r s , " Miranda Sazo said. So, in 2015, on the rows they tested the previ- ous year at 240 rpm, they reduced thinner speeds to 220 and 200 rpm. When Miranda Sazo measured the return blooms, he found the reduced s p e e d s w e r e appropriate for Honeycrisp, but that Gala might respond better at an even lower speed. For this year's trial, Miranda Sazo and Woodworth further reduced the speed in the Gala rows, from 220 to 200 rpm and from 200 to 180 rpm in the respective blocks. Thinning without carbaryl IFTA New York study tour Jason Woodworth PHIL BROWN WELDING CORP. PHIL BROWN WELDING CORP. PHIL BROWN WELDING CORP. Phone (616) 784-3046 • Fax: (616) 784-5852 • 4689–8 Mile Rd NW, Conklin, Michigan 49403 Box Rotator Box Shuttle Double Fork Ground Hog Frost Fan Economy LIft 3-Point Forks 3-Point Hi Lift Conveyors Freight-Mate Durand Wayland Sprayers WE OFFER A FULL LINE OF FRUIT & VEGETABLE EQUIPMENT: Contact Vine Tech Equipment, your Northwest Phil Brown Dealer 509-788-0900 VACUUM APPLE HARVESTER • Eliminates Ladders • Reduces Picker Fatigue • Reduces Bruising • Self-Propelled Platform Contact Us About Our New State-Of-The-Art Apple Harvester VACUUM APPLE HARVESTER The most efficient and gentle apple harvesting system in the world The most efficient and gentle apple harvesting system in the world ©2016 Meadow Creature, LLC MeadowCreature.Com ® Or Give Us a Call 360-329-2250 MAKE CIDER WITH EASE - - MEADOW CREATURE ® Commercial quality at a family price–the AVALON ®

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