[Banner Top] Willamette - 7/1-9/30
Share

November 2012

November 2012
[Banner Mid] Columbia Okura, 7/1-10/31

All Articles

Apple stays EverCrisp

Apple stays EverCrisp

After more than a decade of breeding, the Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA) is ready to release its first apple variety: EverCrisp. MAIA, a loose organization of private breeders, is calling EverCrisp a “managed open” release. The association will charge trademark and royalty fees to those who want to grow the new variety (to help perpetuate the breeding program), but no one will be excluded, said Bill Dodd, MAIA’s president. “We’re not going to limit who has access,” Dodd said. “The intention is for the group to share what it came up with.” The new fresh-market apple is being patented as MAIA 1, but will sell under the trademarked name EverCrisp. Some test trees will be available for MAIA members in 2013 and 2014, but the budwood supply is limited right now. Trees for other growers will be available in spring 2015, from Wafler Nursery…  » Read more
Michigan hort society selects blueberry grower as 2013 president

Michigan hort society selects blueberry grower as 2013 president

Steve Hunt will be the next president of the Michigan State Horticultural Society (MSHS). When he starts next year, Hunt, a blueberry grower from South Haven, Mich., said he intends to support the goals the society was founded on: Promoting Michigan fruit and supporting research. One key area of research for Hunt is how to fight the spotted wing drosophila (SWD), a new pest that has emerged as a major problem this season. As a small-fruit grower, Hunt has dealt with SWD firsthand. “We’ve been trapping and spraying,” he said. “I don’t like to spray until I have a known target, but with SWD, you better be spraying every six to seven days. What I’ve read and seen this year, the number has increased dramatically.” Hunt said the weather was a factor in the emergence of SWD this year. “We started spraying for SWD in…  » Read more
SWD doing significant damage to berries

SWD doing significant damage to berries

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) hit Michigan hard in 2012. Worst off were fall red raspberry growers, who had to deal with wormy berries and customer complaints. Some decided to stop growing raspberries altogether, said Rufus Isaacs, an entomologist with Michigan State University (MSU). SWD, an invasive pest of berries, stone fruit, grapes and other fruit crops, is native to Asia. Its first North American appearance was in California in 2008. Since then, it has spread to many of the primary fruit-growing regions of the United States. In Michigan, SWD was first detected in late 2010 in 13 counties, according to MSU. Soft-skinned fruit like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are at the greatest risk from SWD. Females have a serrated ovipositor, or egg-laying device, that cuts a slit into the skin of intact fruit to lay their eggs. That makes SWD a more significant pest than…  » Read more
Apple harvesting platform readies for production

Apple harvesting platform readies for production

The mechanized apple harvesting platform created by Phil Brown, Mike Rasch and Chuck Dietrich under the company named DBR Conveyor Concepts is almost ready for full production and should be available in 2013, Dietrich said. The core concept of the machine is to eliminate extra labor from the harvesting process. As the machine moves, workers on the row or nearby pick apples and place them into its tubes, where air sucks the apples into a bin. The machine’s price has not been determined yet. DBR Conveyor Concepts was formed in 2010, while securing patent rights for the pneumatic decelerator and conveyor, which are integral parts of the machine. Rasch, a fruit grower in Conklin, Mich., has been working on advancing the mechanical harvest of fruit for years. He said the Michigan Apple Committee and Michigan State University (MSU) helped bring the machine to market faster than DBR could have done…  » Read more
Washington apple growers short of workers

Washington apple growers short of workers

While much of the nation has a shortage of apples this season due to the spring freezes, Washington state is having a banner crop. The surplus is creating a serious problem for the state’s apple growers, however, as they struggle to find enough labor. Apples are the state’s top farm commodity, generating about $7 billion annually and supporting nearly 60,000 jobs in growing and processing, according to the Washington Apple Commission (WAC). October is the peak harvest month, and the time when labor is needed the most. In a normal season, about 10 billion to 12 billion apples are harvested by hand annually in Washington. The industry predicted a crop of 145 million bushels this year, which would push the number closer to 18 billion hand-harvested apples.  “Most, but not all growers are approximately 10 percent below optimum labor needs,” said Todd Fryhover, WAC’s chairman. In…  » Read more
Sweet corn, peaches pair well for Ohio grower

Sweet corn, peaches pair well for Ohio grower

There aren’t many young fruit and vegetable growers out there, and it worries Gordon Hahn. Hahn, 55, grows fruit, vegetable and grain crops in Huron, Ohio. His seed salesman tells him he’s one of the youngest customers he has. “I hate to think we’re kind of a dying breed,” Hahn said. Still, he has mixed feelings about his own children returning to the farm. He and his wife have gotten plenty of help from their two sons and two daughters over the years, but the kids are mostly out of the house at this point, in school or starting their careers. “I’d like them to farm, but I’ve struggled,” he said. “I don’t want them to struggle.” Ultimately, the choice will be up to his kids. Perhaps they’ll choose to farm on a part-time basis, he said. In the meantime, he’ll have to hire more…  » Read more
Private/public partnerships help Quebec thrive

Private/public partnerships help Quebec thrive

Unlike their counterparts in the United States, apple growers in Quebec, Canada, don’t have access to a university- or Extension-based research system. The province’s apple industry has found other ways to meet its research needs, however, by banding together and partnering with the provincial and federal governments. Members of the International Fruit Tree Association (IFTA) visited several Quebec orchards in July, and saw examples of how public/private partnerships work in the Canadian province. At the provincial level, there’s the Federation of Quebec Apple Growers, which represents Quebec’s more than 560 growers, regulating market conditions and promoting Quebec apples. At a more local level, there’s the club system. At the orchard of Gerald and Paul Lussier in Rockburn, agronomist Nathalie Tanguay described how Quebec’s apple clubs work. There are eight such clubs in the province, each with 20 to 70 grower/members. Each club has its own…  » Read more
Michigan grape season varies across state

Michigan grape season varies across state

Northwest Michigan wine grape growers are expecting a pretty good season, said Duke Elsner, a small fruit educator with Michigan State University (MSU) Extension. Wine grape buds naturally break dormancy quite a bit later than typical juice grape cultivars, Elsner said.  The extremely warm weather in March did not last long enough to awaken the dormant grape buds. Growers may have lost a little bit of dormancy and cold-hardiness, but for the most part this was insignificant and the new grape shoots that came out later in the spring looked great, he said. “We came into early September still a good two weeks ahead of the normal fruit developmental pace, and early varieties were harvested about two weeks earlier than usual,” Elsner said.  “Then the weather changed significantly and the pace of ripening slowed to a crawl for the rest of the fall. We saw later…  » Read more
Diversity makes up for crop losses at Wisconsin farmers’ market

Diversity makes up for crop losses at Wisconsin farmers’ market

The weather hit Wisconsin growers hard this season, but that hasn’t seemed to deter anyone from attending the Dane County Farmers’ Market in Madison, Wis. The Badger State market is the nation’s largest producer-only market, boasting 160 to 170 vendors on a given Saturday – and a good turnout of about 41 for the mid-week market, too, said market manager Larry Johnson. The market started in 1972, Johnson said, and has been going continuously. Everything has to be produced in Wisconsin. The Saturday markets are held on the Capitol Square grounds of the state’s capitol building. The market has a kind of festival atmosphere, Johnson said. In addition to growers and produce, there are meats, cheeses, baked goods and other typical farmers’ market fare: entertainers, arts and crafts, nonprofit, political and public information vendors. Just how big is the Saturday market? “We did a survey…  » Read more
New varieties diversify blueberry offerings

New varieties diversify blueberry offerings

Anyone who grows backyard blueberries knows that some of the berries may turn pink before they finally ripen to a familiar dusty blue. When a Pink Lemonade blueberry is ripe and ready to eat, however, it is, in fact, pink. Though not a first, this intriguing coloration is “still somewhat unusual” for a ripe, harvest-ready blueberry, according to Agricultural Research Service plant geneticist Mark K. Ehlenfeldt. Ehlenfeldt has his laboratory, greenhouse and test plots at the Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension in Chatsworth, N.J., about 60 miles south of Newark in the state’s pine barrens. Here’s more about Pink Lemonade and a glimpse of several other interesting blueberries developed through the Chatsworth research. Pink Lemonade Pink Lemonade “may be the prettiest blueberry around,” Ehlenfeldt said. This plant bears moderate yields of firm, glossy, medium-sized berries, with a mild flavor…  » Read more
[Banner Bottom] Keybank - expires 8/31