This research program identifies, and develops pragmatic solutions to, the key factors limiting consistent, sustainable, and profitable stone fruit production. Research efforts study the genetic, horticultural, and physiological components, as well as their interaction. Particular emphasis is given to developing high efficiency sweet cherry orchard systems. For Washington State farmers, sweet cherries are one of the most profitable commodities to grow. Northwest cherries are renowned for their superb quality and they remain highly sought-after in domestic and, especially, export markets.
The Machine is a Gillison"s GVF Center Mount Topper and Hedger: Side shift 3'6" on either side of the tractor, height adjustment of 3'6" to 20' and a 360º rotation of the cutting head.
The primary goal of this project is to determine the best management practices for pruning PNW apple, pear and sweet cherry orchards with sickle bar mechanical pruner. To achieve this goal we will:
Identify suitable blocks and tree architectures for mechanical pruning.
Conduct trials to compare pruning technologies for their effects on tree response, return bloom,fruit yield and quality.
- Conduct a preliminary economic assessment of mechanical pruning systems.
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