Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some catching up to do...

I have been pretty remiss about timely updates lately, and I have some catching up to do, so here goes:

Fruit Notes archive -- According to an e-mail from Wes Autio, “Fruit Notes was the first UMass publication to be digitized under the Boston Library Consortium/Internet Archive Digitization Project. This projects goal is to digitize volumes of historical significance to the various institutions in the consortium. We are very pleased to have Fruit Notes recognized this way.
“Within this archive, you can search the Table of Contents, either a few years at a time or within all years at once. You also can search within the text of the articles. Adobe pdf, flip-page, and DjVu versions of all articles from 1935 to 2004 are available.”

Apple Scion/Rootstock planning for Michigan’ and associated tree spacing calculator -- Don’t be mislead by the title, the tree spacing calculator is mostly appropriate for any humid growing environment in the Northeast. With the calculator, you can input the most important factors that determine tree spacing: scion, rootstock, soil, irrigation, management intensity, orchard system, and tree height. The result is recommended tree spacing -- feet between trees by feet across rows, number of trees per acre -- for your choice(s). Anyone planting trees this spring should give it try to justify their tree planting density decision. The apple tree spacing calculator was recently revised by Dr. Ron Perry of Michigan State University and myself to include new rootstocks and orchard/training systems.

1st Annual Precision Sprayer Conference -- Mo Tougas (Tougas Family Farm) and myself attended this Conference convened by Dr. Andrew Landers (Cornell University) April 8 - 9 on the shores of Canandaigua Lake in western New York. Landers brought in speakers from research, industry, government, and growers to update us on the latest technologies and progress made to reduce drift, better target applications, and retain good pest control while orchard and vineyard spraying. Clearly the impetus to minimize spray drift for various environmental, social, and regulatory reasons is upon those of us doing tree and/or vine spraying. Fortunately, the use of various canopy sensors ('smart' sprayers), new nozzle technology (air-induction), sprayer design (tunnel, tower sprayers), and orchard architecture (taller, narrower canopies) are making the goal of drift reduction somewhat easier. But there is more work to do -- expect very new technologies currently being researched, such as robotics, 'Lidar,' precision GPS guidance, and lessons learned from field crop spraying to have a greater role in making the goal of precision spraying a reality in the not-so-distant future. Oh, and I had a little time (very little) to relax while at the Inn on the Lake. (See pict above.)

Current bud stages, UMass Cold Spring Orchard -- I have started my annual update of current bud stages (apple, pear, peach, cherry, plum, apricot, grape) on the UMass Fruit Advisor. FWIW. But in reality, I have now been doing this since 2001 (8 years including 2008!), so it is starting to be a pretty good historical picture of bloom timing at the Orchard. (See Clements Corner Web Articles for past years.) FWIW. Still, I kind of enjoy doing it and I get some visual scouting done while taking the pictures. :-) Interestingly, I just ran across Project BudBurst. Although apple is not specifically a species of interest for Project Budburst, it is apparently one of the two agricultural Calibration Plant Species of interest for the U.S.A. National Phenology Network (USA-NPN). But I have yet to find where I can report my observations...