Good Fruit Grower

September 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 14 of 47

"This potentially revolutionary production concept addresses multiple issues within the cherry industry." —Dan Guyer Perry said. The new trees were special-ordered, since nurseries routinely remove lower branches from young tart cherry trees, and he and Oxley didn't want that done. Both Oxley and Perry seemed quite sure the new orchard could be harvested with a blueberry harvester. "We're concerned now about keeping these trees under control," Perry said. The trees were planted on traditional Mahaleb rootstocks, so they have the capacity to grow large. More experiments Working with Michigan State University horticulturist Dr. Jim Flore, they devised pruning experiments in Oxley's new orchard. Using a hedger, they narrowed the canopies to three feet and five feet thick in two tests. In a third, they hedged and topped to remove half of all new growth. In one, they removed half the new growth in the top only. And in a fifth, they employed renewal pruning techniques, in which large branches are cut back to 8- to 10-inch stubs to generate new, smaller growth and discourage development of permanent scaffold branches. Flore conducted hedging research on traditional large trees more than 20 years ago at MSU and believes that hedging away new growth will not only narrow the tree but will stimulate new flower buds. Flower buds for the next year's crop form about mid-June, so they hedged 45 days after bloom. MSU agricultural engineer Dr. Dan Guyer is evaluating technical aspects of the tree-machine interactions and fruit quality. He thinks using the new harvester will improve quality because it will require less fruit removal force, do less tearing where fruit is removed from the stems, and greatly reduce the accelerated speed at which cherries end their trip from tree top to catching surface. Cherries now fall 20 and more feet, through a canopy, on their way to a catching frame. The throat of the Korvan harvester is five feet wide and eight feet tall, so the maximum fall to the folding fishscale plates is eight feet. "This potentially revolutionary production concept, which is developing under synergistic horticultural and mechanical optimization simultaneously, addresses multiple issues within the cherry industry from trunk damage, fruit damage associated with tall drops, spray containment, and overall economic returns over the life of an orchard," Guyer said. Ken Engle, a cherry grower from Traverse City, 200 miles north of Oxley, came to see the harvest because he's planted new orchards in the hedgerow manner and plans to harvest over the row in about two years. He carried double handfuls of the fruit, admiring the lack of damage. He, like Guyer, thinks fruit quality will be better with this new method. Roger Bell, an engineer from Oxbow (which owns the Korvan brand), said the machine is quite adjustable for both shake frequency and amplitude. The shaking action is transmitted to 750 fiberglass tines on a spindle that turns as the tree moves through the harvester throat. The tines reach into the tree, and the shaking is done inside the canopy, rather than from a trunk movement that whips the upper branches. "The harvester is working efficiently even without any changes in components on the blueberry harvester," Perry said. It is virtually unmodified from its blueberry harvest design. Engineers, of course, love to torch new machines and make them better. They were already contemplating conveyors to move cherries into more conveniently located bins for faster bin changing. And Chris Oxley wants to go faster. "I spray at 15 miles per hour," he quipped. Pear Trees on ® 9 7 97 OHxF 6 , 8 , & Rootstocks OHxF® 69, 87, & 97* – Match your specific variety and orchard to one of these rootstocks for maximum results. *OHxF® 69 Rootstock Shown Patent Information Available Call today for more detailed information (800) 675-6075 • Newcastle, California ALMONDS • APRICOTS • ASIAN PEARS • CHERRIES PEARS • NECTARINES • FRESH MARKET PEACHES •WALNUTS Does YOUR fan blade have the "Trailing Edge Wedge?" T Performance you can count on... his year's frost had a devastating effect on the tree fruit in our area. Most growers received only 5 to 15% of a full crop. We farm 12 acres of Sweet Tango apples, and, with the aid of our Chinook Wind Machine, we managed to harvest 88% of a full crop after hand thinning 60 to 70% of the trees. We ran our wind machine 21 nights from March 28 to late April. In the hollow, we had 24-26 degrees—and some sites got as low as 22 degrees. My neighbor to the west even benefited from the Chinook. He farms 60 to 80 acres of Montmorency tart cherries. His only red cherries were the 5 to 7 acres closest to our orchard, which he attributed to the wind machine. Not only did the Chinook wind machine improve the crop, but it improved the packout. Our pack out was 85%. I had a good finish on the fruit and attribute that to the frost protection as well. It definitely had an impact. Stan Petersen LUDINGTON, MICHIGAN 2921 Sutherland Park Drive Yakima, WA 98903-1891 Toll Free: 1-855-855-0318 Phone: 509-248-0318 Fax: 509-248-0914 • ★ Increased Radius Coverage by 80-150 Feet with Same HP Draw ★ Air Flow Starts 14'' from Hub ★ Donier Swept Tip—Reduces Tip Drag ★ Only Blade with the "Trailing Edge Wedge" (wider sector angle, increased air velocity) ★ Advanced Flow Design ★ Increased Horsepower ★ LESS FUEL CONSUMPTION ★ Quality Built, Affordable, Fast Payback • Good Fruit Grower SEPTEMBER 2013 15

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - September 2013