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Posts Tagged: Cherries

Warmer winter is hurting California cherry crop

The drought isn't helping matters, but the primary concern for cherry farmers in California is the lack of winter chill, reported Lisa Morehouse on KQED's The California Report.

Morehouse spoke to Bill Coates, a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources expert based at the UC Cooperative Extension office in San Benito County. He said cherries are more sensitive than other crops to a lack of chill hours. Because of a warming weather trend during the winter, bing cherry trees look confused about what season it is.

“You have some ripe cherries, you have some blossoms, some branches that are almost devoid of leaves, and you have some buds that are still dormant,” he explains. “And this is all a result of lack of chilling.”

Bing cherries need about 1,000 hours under 45 degrees for healthy dormancy. Last year San Benito County got just over 500 hours.

"People may disagree on the cause of the change," Coates says, "but there definitely has been a change in the climate, and it's going to impact tree crops greatly."

The warming climate is threatening California's cherry crop.
Posted on Friday, June 12, 2015 at 10:35 AM

Be on the lookout for spotted wing drosophila

Small hole or "sting" created by by SWD on a ripe cherry. (Photo by Larry L. Strand.)
It's cherry growing season and a good time to begin looking for spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii. SWD is a small fruit fly that attacks soft-flesh fruit such as cherry, blueberry, raspberry and blackberry. It first appeared in 2010, and its damage to fruit and increased management costs led to significant economic losses to cherry growers throughout California and the Pacific Northwest.

Unlike other fruit flies that infest rotted fruit, SWD attacks undamaged fruit. As cherry fruit begins to develop and starts to change color from light green to straw, SWD lays its eggs just under the skin of fruit, creating a small scar or a“sting.” One to three larvae may develop inside each cherry, feeding on the fruit and causing it to become brown and soft. Many times SWD flies are not noticed until fruit is mature, and by that time management is not very effective.

Adult male spotted wing drosophila. Note the dark spot on the tip of its wings. (Photo by Larry L. Strand.)
Prevention is the key, and one way to prevent damage is to monitor for the pest when it first becomes active. SWD can be monitored with several types of traps partly filled with apple cider vinegar to lure the pest. Monitor traps weekly through the end of harvest, and be sure to confirm the presence of SWD, as other Drosophila spp. may be present in trap catches. SWD males have a single dark spot on the tip of its wing and females have a large ovipositor. See the UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines for identification help and a dichotomous key.

Spotted wing drosophila is still a relatively new pest, and management information continues to change. David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Kern County, and other researchers have been working to provide what help they can. Haviland has designed a bucket trap called the “Haviland trap” and is working with others to field-test experimental lures for SWD. He's also studying a possible biological control agent. Research has led to new grower guidelines so that early season cherries can be produced and sold internationally. Check out the 2014 Recommendations for Sweet Cherry (PDF).

For management in backyard cherries or other urban areas, see the SWD Pest Note.

For more information about UC IPM's recent work, see the 2013 Annual Report.

The Haviland trap, named after UCCE advisor David Haviland. (Photo by D. Haviland.)
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM

California cherry crop 'unusually light'

California cherries are now hitting the market.
California cherries are now beginning to show up at roadside stands, farmers markets and grocery stores, but the supply in 2013 may be a touch scanty, reported Reed Fujii in the Stockton Record.

Joe Grant, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Joaquin County, said the cherry crop is light throughout the area, across orchards and varieties.

"That rules out orchard-to-orchard factors, management factors or disease factors," he said.

Crop losses are often weather-related, but early frosts, or wet or cold weather during the bloom were not factors.

"Right now, the only candidate ... is we had quite warm weather for a couple of days during bloom," Grant said. That heat may have affected pollination and reduced the amount of fruit each tree carries.

On the bright side, the fruit looks to be of good quality.



Posted on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 9:33 AM
Tags: cherries (6), Joe Grant (5)

Farmers turning in greater numbers to mechanical harvesting

Growers can't always hire enough workers to pick cherries.
The dwindling supply of workers has created a new urgency for California farmers to employ mechanical harvesting technology, reported the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Some cherry growers, for example, were able to pick only once this year, said Chuck Ingels, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sacramento County. Ideally, they'd pick as fruit colors and ripens.

"They're finding that if they can't get labor to pick their crops, they're just not able to farm anymore," Ingels said. "So what they're going to is mechanization."

UC Davis agriculture experts, farmers and industry leaders gathered last month in Orland to watch a demonstration of the first mechanical harvest of Manzanilla table olives in California. The new technology could revive the industry, the article said.

Even pear harvesting, a grueling job that requires workers to climb aluminum ladders with heavy bags of fruit, may be ripe for new harvest technology. For apples and pears, there are platforms for workers to stand on that move through the orchard while the workers feed the fruit into flexible tubes, where suction carries the fruit to bins.

"It's definitely on the radar for growers in the industry," Ingels said.

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Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012 at 9:04 AM
Tags: Cherries (6), Chuck Ingels (12)

It's a good year for California cherries

With winter winding down, fresh fruit season in California is right around the corner. The first fruit to come off trees in May and June are bing cherries.

The Stockton Record reports today that consumers can expect a bounty of the delicious and healthful fruit. California's cherry growers could produce a record-breaking 10 million 18-pound boxes of fruit this spring, according to the article by Reed Fujii. Last year California cherry growers produced 8.3 million boxes.

Excellent weather and an increasing number of acres planted to cherries is the reason for the projected growth, the story said.

In the past, the focus of the state's cherry industry was San Joaquin County, where orchards benefit from cool night air flowing in from the San Francisco Bay. However, new varieties are being planted farther south in the San Joaquin Valley, where they bloom and ripen sooner.

"In 1990, I'll bet there were absolutely no (cherry) acres south of Madera," the article quoted Joe Grant, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in San Joaquin County. "The lion's share of the expansion has been in these early varieties in the earlier areas."

But San Joaquin County still leads the state in cherry production, with 17,700 bearing acres in 2008 producing a crop worth an estimated $170 million, the story said.

Ripe California cherries.
Ripe California cherries.

Posted on Friday, February 19, 2010 at 11:16 AM
Tags: cherries (6), fresh fruit (1), fruit (15), Joe Grant (5)

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