Written by: Tom Auvil, WA Tree Fruit Research Commission. Edited by: Wendy Jones, WSU Tree Fruit Extension. updated: 10/10/2016
download November 2016 Rootstock Trial Conclusions.
Growers choose apple rootstocks based on a variety of factors, including: the soil type, climate, production system used, scion type, and the need for disease and pest resistance. Growers want high yields that are consistent over the years. (more…)
Breeding Program – Apple
The Washington State University apple breeding program began in 1994 to develop new varieties suited to the unique climate of central Washington and that are available to Washington growers. Washington is the leading apple producing state with over 60 percent of U.S. production. Unfortunately, many of the new varieties developed in the world are not well adapted to growing conditions in central Washington or available to the majority of Washington growers.
The goal is to produce apples of an improved eating quality, particularly focusing on outstanding texture and storability. The WSU apple breeding program is a conventional breeding program, hybridizing parents with desirable traits. Promising seedlings are selected from large populations and their fruit is evaluated in the laboratory for eating quality and suitability for long-term storage. This program was one of the 12 core US breeding programs of the SCRI RosBREED project, 'Enabling Marker-Assisted Breeding in Rosaceae'.
Cameron Peace, Dorrie Main, Amit Dhingra and others are working to apply basic genetic science to accelerate the development of Washington-specific tree fruit varieties.
Building on the Genome Database for Rosaceae (GDR), tree fruit Genome Database Resources (tfGDR) will provide fundamental bioinformatics and database capabilities for Rosaceae and Citrus. It will be designed specifically to meet the needs of basic, translational and applied researchers, and industry stakeholders, facilitate the discovery of genes underlying important agricultural traits, develop markers for genomics-assisted-breeding, and enhance critical decision-making by apple, cherry, peach, strawberry and citrus breeders and growers.
Factors Affecting Bee Pollination of Tree Fruits
Nearly 1,000 species of bees occur in the Pacific Northwest, but only a small number of species are useful in the pollination of orchard crops. Pesticide use and loss of appropriate nesting habitat have reduced the numbers of wild bee pollinators, leaving most of the pollination for commercial orchards dependent on honeybees. The success of honeybee pollination in tree fruits is affected by a number of factors, which in part can be manipulated by orchardists and beekeepers.
Foraging Behavior of Honey Bees
At any given time approximately one-third of the honeybees in a colony are searching, or foraging, for nectar or pollen. Foraging bees rarely collect both nectar and pollen during the same flight. About 50% of the honeybees foraging in Red Delicious apples are pollen collectors, but that number may increase in other varieties. Roughly 80% of the honeybee foragers in cherry orchards are collecting pollen. Because pollen collectors pollinate fruit trees more efficiently than nectar collectors, orchardists prefer colonies with a higher percentage of pollen collectors. Larger colonies, with large amounts of brood (immatures) tend to send out a greater proportion of pollen collectors than small colonies. (more…)
Washington State University has been involved with organic agriculture for decades. Organic agricultural research started at WSU in the 1970’s and an organic major was introduced for undergraduate students in 2006. In 2007, WSU purchased a new research farm with over 100 acres of certified organic production already in place.
Orchardists worldwide are increasing their use of organic and sustainable production systems due to consumer preferences and land and environmental stewardship priorities. Organic tree fruit production has provided a valuable commodity for growers in the state of Washington for over a decade. Numerous resources on organic production can be found on this page including: current research; certification; orchard establishment; insect pest management; disease management; tree fruit nutrition; weed control; tree training systems; packing and storage; vertebrate pest management; and food safety.
Pre-sizing and Packing – Apple
There are two main types of packing systems, Commit to Pack(AKA direct pack) and Presizing. For the Commit to Pack system, the warehouse contracts with the grower that they will pack their fruit at the time that the bins are first emptied. A disadvantage of this system is that if the packed fruit is not sold at that time, it will be returned to storage and it may have to be unpacked and sold for processing if there is no order placed for that fruit. For the Presizing system, once fruit are sorted for various sizes, they are returned to bins and placed back into storage until there is a need for that fruit. Presized fruit bins are often made up of pooled grower lots. This may require extra record keeping to maintain the food safety traceability of each grower lot within the pool. Note that apples are generally less sensitive to packing injury than pears (noted below) and can withstand the extra pre-sizing process.
Six Steps to Calibrate and Optimize Airblast Sprayers
By Gwen Hoheisel, WSU Regional Extension Specialist
The idea behind any pesticide application is to get every drop to the crop. Spray or drift that goes into the air clearly missed the target leading not only to negative environmental and health effects, but also a waste of money. Pesticide applications are the most frequent operation carried out in the orchard or vineyard, and chemical control is the second highest cost of production (i.e., pre-harvest operations) in orchard systems with material costs for a single spray ranging from $40 to > $100/acre depending on the crop and chemical (Freeman et al., 2008). So any waste, or improvement, can have a significant economic impact. .
Proper maintenance and operation of a sprayer is the first step in optimizing spray quality. This article will discuss 6 steps to calibrate and optimize sprayer output. However, there is an assumption that the mechanical parts of a sprayer—like the hoses, pressure gauges, pumps, and agitators—are working properly.
Optimizing spray applications takes time initially, but will pay off with better coverage, improved pest control, and less culls. (more…)
Varieties – Apple
There are over 7,500 varieties of apples grown worldwide. But only a relative few are suitable to be grown and marketed in Washington and the Pacific Northwest (PNW). The top nine varieties are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Cripps Pink and Cameo. In addition to the major varieties, there are "boutique" varieties found only in specialty stores or fruit stands and club varieties grown by select growers. Below is a thumbnail gallery of the most common PNW varieties arranged by relative harvest timing. Clicking on an image will open the full description window. (List of varieties came from the Washington State Apple Commission.)
Dr. Shahak presents an invited expert seminar reviewing research around the world where anti-hail shade nets of various colors have been used to alter the field microclimate and bring about various positive benefits for plants.
In this video Drs. Parama Sikdar, Mike Willett, Richard Kim and Mr. Tom Auvil provide a tutorial about the management of two quarantine significant postharvest diseases in apple orchards of Washington State. These include speck rot caused by Phacidiopycnis washingtonensis and Sphaeropsis rot caused by Sphaeropsis pyriputrescens.
Mr. Tom Auvil (Research Horticulturist, WTFRC) presents a thorough explanation of how to beat apple replant disorders covering everything from economic assessment to cultivar choices and orchard establishment to proper horticultural management.
On January 19, 2015 David Granatstein spoke at the Lake Chelan Hort Day about why weed control is needed in orchards, weed control options, herbicides and other choices, and economics. He also discussed the results of non-chemical weed control research.
Mr. Auvil and Dr. Musacchi highlight recent orchard observations from the M9-Nic29 and Geneva 41 rootstocks for WA 38. Afterwards, Dr. Ines Hanrahan reviews WA 38 post harvest performance of fruit after 8 months of storage in controlled atmosphere with or without 1-MCP.
A vehicle is classified as an unmanned aerial system (UAS) when there is no person on board to guide controls, or decide direction or speed of the vehicle. UAS are equipped with onboard flight and navigation controls to be piloted remotely or through Global Positioning System (GPS) waypoints in autopilot mode. ...... From an application standpoint, UASs, which are the focus of this fact sheet, are integrated with sensing modules on board that appear to have a wide range of applications in agricultural production management when combined with soil, weather, and relevant crop growth
Airblast 101 is a new handbook that describes best practices in airblast spraying in clear, conversational language. With more than 200 full-colour illustrations and 200 pages of content, Airblast 101 takes the reader from adjusting airblast settings for the first spray of the season all the way to winterizing the sprayer at the end of the season.
This study assessed the potential impacts on grower profits when the crop load management is not optimal. We used a hedonic pricing model to estimate the relationship between ‘Honeycrisp’ apple (<em>Malus</em> ×<em>domestica</em>) quantities and prices by size category.
This paper reviews the research and development of machine vision systems for fruit detection and localization for robotic harvesting and/or crop-load estimation of specialty tree crops including apples, pears, and citrus.
The WTFRC Internal Program recently completed their 2016 Pesticide Residue Study featuring 13 insecticide/acaricides and 7 fungicides commonly used in Washington apple orchards, including their first assessment of novaluron (Rimon) residues.
The Orchard Bee Association is holding its annual meeting in Hood River, Oregon, on December 9-10, 2016. This is a great opportunity to learn more about these species, the potential role they could play in our orchards (and other crops), progress in managing them for successful pollination, and how one might try them in their operation.
The Washington State Tree Fruit Association (WSTFA) released its revised forecast for the 2016 Washington state fresh apple crop. The August forecast estimated the Washington state apple harvest to be 132.9 million standard forty pound boxes of fresh apples. After receiving updated data from WSTFA members who have picked a majority of the crop, that estimate has increased by 3.4%.
The DA meter is a handheld device which non-destructively measures the difference of absorbance between 670 and 720 nm. The value correlates with the chlorophyll content in the mesocarp (flesh) of the fruit and can be used as maturity indicator of apples or pears.
Netting can protect your crop from hail, well worth the value when mother nature strikes. Photo-selective anti-hail nets can also provide additional value by reducing plant stress and sunburn. WSU’s Dr. Lee Kalcsits and Dr. Stefano Musacchi gave more than 90 field day participants an update last week on what they are learning about how different colors of anti-hail netting can reduce wind speed and light intensity and how this might impact tree growth and sunburn.
Penn State Extension's new ‘Bark Grafting’ Learn Now video guides growers through the process of top-working trees, and discusses how to manage the planting in the subsequent years as the grafts begin to refill their allotted space along the trellis. This practice allows a grower to convert a block over to a new variety, rather than having to replant the entire block. The block will start producing fruit earlier, allowing it to become profitable again much sooner.