Good Fruit Grower

December 2012

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Orchard Economics Over-the-row research R Research project is in its fifth year. by Richard Lehnert esearch evaluating over-the-row tart cherry harvesting was funded in 2008 as a five-year project by USDA's Research, Education, and Economics Information System. Headed by Michigan State University horti- culturist Dr. Ron Perry, it involves other MSU researchers: cherry breeder Dr. Amy Iezzoni; Dr. Greg Lang, who stud- ies cherry orchard design and orchard systems; Dr. Jim Flore and Phil Schwallier, both experts in growth regula- tors; economist Dr. Susanne Thornsbury; agricultural engineer Dr. Dan Guyer; and Dr. Nikki Rothwell, coordi- nator of the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station at Traverse City. In 2009 and 2011, three plantings were made at the Northwest station with the idea that they'd be used as test orchards for production systems that did not use trunk shaker technology and would be suited to over-the-row harvest. They would supplement Iezzoni's experimental rootstock and variety trial plantings at the Clarksville Experiment Station. The plantings at the Northwest station include genetic dwarf and compact tart cherry selections in a high-density spacing of 4.9 feet by 13.1 feet. Six scion varieties There are six scion varieties in one of the new North- west plantings. Two of them, Carmine Jewel and Crimson Passion, are dwarf varieties from the University of Saskatchewan, where Dr. Bob Bors had been working for some years to develop cold-hardy tart cherry varieties that are bushlike and can be harvested with the same machines used to harvest the berry-type fruit of haskaps and saskatoons. In that very cold climate, Bors found that bushlike cherries tolerate winters with less winter injury. And being able to use the same machine to harvest three crops in three different seasons made economic sense. The other four varieties in the planting are conven- tional Montmorency; MSU 27 12 (2), a variety bred and being tested by Iezzoni; and Nana and Tamaris, two vari- eties from eastern Europe. These are being grown on Mahaleb rootstock. In a second planting, rootstocks are being evaluated for their effects on the Montmorency variety. The root- stocks are Gisela 3, 5, and 6, and Mahaleb. Montmorency is also being grown on its own roots. Two training systems are being tested, Rothwell said: the bush type and central leader. In a third planting, five elite selections from Iezzoni's tart cherry breeding program are being evaluated. "The trees look beautiful," Rothwell said. "We are irri- gating and fertigating them, and they are growing well." Rothwell would like to see grant money directed toward helping growers test the system in their own orchards. "We'd like to get this into growers' hands," she said. "Let them help figure out how to make it work." Some growers are already participating. Harvester testing is continuing, most often in the orchards of growers cooperating with the university researchers. Tests have been conducted at Cherry Bay Orchards, Hartford, Michigan, using a new style of berry harvester, the BEI 3000, fabricated by BEI International, which has a long history with blueberry equipment. Initial harvesting trials were conducted in 2008 at the Clarksville research station using a machine now named the Oxbo (formerly Korvan) 7624. The following year, tests were again run at Clarksville using a different Oxbo Inter- national machine, and it was also used at H & W Farms near Belding, Michigan. George Wright and his partner Timothy Heffron had a four-year-old planting of Mont- morency cherries that was harvested using the Oxbo 9000. Interest Interest in the system is continuing to build. This winter at the Great Lakes Expo, Jacob McManus will make a presentation to growers on his economic model that will help growers decide when it pays to pull out an existing traditional system and change to high- density plantings made for over-the-row harvesting. During the Northwest Michigan Orchard and Vineyard Show in Traverse City January 21-22, Polish ag engineer Dr. Ryszard Holownicki, head of the Horticultural Engi- neering Department, Research Institute of Horticulture (Instytut Ogrodnictwa), in Skierniewice, Poland, will make presentations about the work at their institute. Also two training systems—the bush and central leader—are being tested in the second planting. • M.G. Wagner Co., Inc. ROOF ING SPECI ALISTS of Service to Central Washington Celebrating 75 Years •SERVING THE FRUIT AND FOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRIES •DESIGN AND CONSULTING SERVICES •ROOF INSPECTION AND ESTIMATES AVAILABLE 1401 Hathaway Yakima, WA 98902 Fax: 509-453-0592 Phone: 509-575-0934 References available NOW SCHEDULING WORK FOR 2013 30 DECEMBER 2012 GOOD FRUIT GROWER versity's Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee. This is the first of several endowed chair positions created as a result of a special assessment being paid by Washington apple and pear growers to support research at WSU. Musachi, an assistant professor at the University of W Bologna in Italy, is an internationally recognized leader in pome fruit physiology and production, according to WSU. He has worked on numerous fruit crops includ- ing apple, pear, quince, peach, cherry, and apricot. He has studied propagation and training systems, evalu- ated rootstocks and cultivars, and done research on the mechanisms of graft incompatibility. Musachi earned his a doctorate in pomology from the University of Bologna in 1996. He held a postdoc- toral fellowship at the university before being appointed assistant professor in 2000. Richard Knowles, chair of WSU's horticulture department, said Musachi has an impressive record of acquiring competitive extramural support. His research program has attracted almost $4.5 million euros (more than U.S. $5.5 million) in funding over the past eight years. He has extensive working relationships with academics and apple and pear industry personnel throughout the United States, Europe, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa. "Dr. Musacchi has a strong reputation among col- leagues for developing programs in tree fruit physiol- ogy, management, and variety development that are highly innovative and nationally recognized for out- comes and impacts," Knowles aid. While the endowed position is focused on research, Musacchi also has experience in teaching. He is actively engaged in mentoring graduate students and will bring a student with him when he joins WSU next August. —G. Warner ITALIAN POMOLOGIST to join WSU ashington State University has appointed Ital- ian researcher Dr. Stefano Musacchi to a new tree fruit pomologist position based at the uni-

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