Good Fruit Grower

November 2013

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New Equipment & Technology TOP 5 technologies to use now The opportunities for delivering a repeatable excellent eating experience for consumers are much greater than they used to be. photo by geraldine warner by Karen Lewis N ew technologies that will allow orchardists to grow fruit more efficiently and deliver a better product to the consumer are becoming available. Below are five technologies that you can use now. 1 New chemistries Two plant bioregulator products that are having an important impact in the industry are Apogee (prohexadione calcium) and the sprayable MCP product, Harvista. Apogee is a tool that reduces vegetative growth of trees by blocking the ynthesis of gibberellins (hors mones that promote longation of cells). Treated trees e Karen Lewis demonstrates demonstrates a handheld mechanical thinning tool during a Washington State University field day. "We grew up with Zaiger Genetics and Dave Wilson Nursery. We first experienced the flavor of the Pluot® and passed on that experience to our community. We often hear customers at our local farm stand say things such as, "you have to experience it, or you can't explain the flavor of a pluot". I call this our return on experience. Generations of support has led us to where we are and what we are about today. We are farmers, we create the experience, we support it, but most of all we are a part of it. Dave Wilson Nursery has been with us every step of the way to stay fully vested in our community and helping to create the experience". Craig Wallis and Bill Loretelli Loretelli Farms, Modesto, CA produce shorter shoots with shorter internodes. Benefits include better light penetration in the canopy and less need for pruning. This has allowed orchardists to more successfully develop and manage simple, narrow, and productive canopies in apples. The active ingredient in Harvista is MCP (1-methyl cyclopropene), which has been used for more than a decade as a postharvest treatment to maintain fruit quality, and is now available as a preharvest spray. MCP blocks the fruit's receptors to ethylene, the ripening hormone. Applied before harvest, it can slow down fruit maturity and slow firmness loss in storage, though it is not considered a replacement for postharvest MCP. As overall production and yield per acre increase in Washington State, tools that can be used to manage physiological maturity will become more important. Being able to manipulate maturity somewhat allows growers and field staff to better manage harvest, target markets, and manage inputs such as labor, tractors, bins, and warehouse services. Anything we can do during harvest to ensure that we pick fruit at its peak for the intended storage or target market is a must try. 2 Fruit handling From receiving to loading trucks, the packing side of the industry has invested in available technologies and streamlined the handling of the fruit. This is critical as the fruit volume continues to increase. Dr. Ines Hanrahan of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission cites both defect sorting and sophisticated inventory systems as two of the newer technologies used in fruit handling. Defect-sorting technology results in a better product in the box and is beneficial to all sectors from tree to truck because detailed defect sorting minimizes oversorting and undersorting. Defect sorting will be listed right next to CA (controlled atmosphere) storage and MCP in the record books. 3 75 Years & Growing 1938 - 2013 Dave Wilson Nursery 19701 Lake Road Hickman, CA 95323 (209) 874-1821 Fax 874-1920 Toll Free 800-654-5854 16 NOVEMBER 2013 Good Fruit Grower Mechanical aids Harvest-assist systems, platforms, and other tools that can help improve efficiency and productivity in thinning, pruning, harvesting, and other orchard practices are becoming more available. We have more opportunities than ever to seriously evaluate mechanical thinning, mechanical pruning, and mechanical harvest-assist. I would not have said this three years ago. This is a new day for mechanization in Washington State. The equipment industry is delivering well-designed, robust, and reliable equipment to mechanize orchard practices. There are six different commercially available harvest-assist machines in the field this season—some working day and night. Last year there was one. In addition, sickle-bar mechanical pruners appropriate for modern apple and cherry plantings are commercially available. Mechanical thinning tools include handheld and tractor-mounted string thinners. Both have been proven to be effective tools in apple and cherry and

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