Good Fruit Grower

January 2015

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Page 16 of 39 GOOD FRUIT GROWER JANUARY 1, 2015 17 the East Coast. They, too, are also at their lowest since the mid-2000s. Three years ago, concentrate was selling for more than $20 per gallon, Ball said. "The negative to having a high concentrate price is that it opens the door for competi- tion from alternative and imported products. Hopefully, this lower price will bring about more use of Concord concentrate." He reported that 63.7 million gallons of single-strength juice and concentrate were imported to the United States in 2013, up from 58.9 million gallons in 2012. For the coming year, Ball expects similar trends of lower cash prices for juice grapes until inventories are reduced. He believes stabilization will return to the concentrate market as high inventories are lowered. Washington's wine grape crop was estimated at around 240,000 tons, the largest volume on record. The increased volume is a result of new acreage coming into production. Some 50,000 acres of wine grapes have been planted in Washington, according to industry sources. National wine sales are up five percent from the same time a year ago, and the industry is still in a growth mode. Final crop numbers for Washington will be released in early 2015. Struggle for sugar "The larger-than-anticipated crop did create prob- lems for some growers in meeting minimum quality standards," said Craig Bardwell of the National Grape Cooperative Association, the juice-processing arm for Welch Foods. "It was a challenging crop and there were a number of rejected loads." Keith Oliver, production manager for Olsen Brothers, Inc., Prosser, led a panel discussion about options for managing large Concord crops. "The big Concord crop came from a lot of high ton- nage vineyards that averaged 16 to 18 tons per acre," he said, adding that one vineyard was reported to produce 24 tons per acre. "A lot of Concords were picked this year, but there were also a lot of grapes not picked because of various constraints such as not meeting minimum sugar requirements of 16° Brix." Ryan Schilperoort, Sunnyside grower and custom harvester, said he had sugar issues like many others, though he didn't have any rejected loads. "It was chal- lenging to put a load together to get across the scales at the processors," he said. "I sample before harvest because I want to know which field has the best sugar so I know where to start." Schilperoort also shut water off in some blocks— and in one for up to 40 days—to help raise sugar lev- els. "We lost some tonnage but the sugar went up from mid-14 Brix to over 16." Heavy crop loads require every leaf to be working, said Concord grower Tim Grow of Grandview. Although Grow uses a mechanical pruner, he always leaves around five acres to prune by hand. "That way, I know I'll have a place with better than average sugar." Grow uses a blender to mix up samples for testing with a refractometer instead of using free run juice because he believes the blender results in a more accurate number. Additionally, he uses foliar nutrient sprays, especially in heavy-crop years. Concord growers on the East Coast routinely use thinning to help ripen their fruit. Bardwell said that while thinning works well for Midwest and East Coast growers, he knew of no National Grape cooperative grower-mem- ber in Washington that thinned. "But there were some that could have benefitted from the practice." Oliver noted that although wine grape growers thin by hand, Concord growers must use a mechanical harvester to knock off berries because of economics. "Concord growers can't afford the labor to hand thin—especially not at today's prices." • $''!%$&' $ &%%'"%' !#"$&' ' 1. V-8 engine with power of a V-10 2. Better fuel economy 11.6 gal/hr (5.4 liquid injection) 3. Less maintenance–no filter lock-off, no vaporizer and no mixer 4. Instantaneous engine start-up 5. No engine surging/service call if unit runs out of fuel 6. Built in auto-start, standard equipment 7. Exclusive (OBD-2) on-board engine diagnostics H.F. HAUFF COMPANY INC. 2921 Sutherland Park Drive Yakima, Washington 98903 855-855-0318 509-248-0318 FAX 509-248-0914 • TOLL FREE &"!$#&'"%'$!' !#"$&''#"%!' ' ##'!$&%'%'&%"#$&'&#&%

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