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A tractor uses a mechanical thinner in a Cornell AgriTech orchard.

Study Charts How Orchards Can Leverage Mechanical Thinning and Pruning without Spreading Fire Blight

By Erin Rodger / January 11, 2021

Apple fire blight is a devastating disease that causes an estimated $100 million of damage in U.S. orchards annually.  Pruning an apple orchard comes with many rewards for commercial apple growers including optimal crop load, ripeness and sugar levels. Mechanical pruning and thinning is an effective alternative to long and laborious hand pruning, but commercial orchards have…

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Tree Fruit Specialist Mike Basedow measuring Honeycrisp apples for the fruit growth model at an eastern New York orchard.

Precision Apple Thinning with Computer-Based Plant Growth Models

By Michael Basedow / October 20, 2020

A new bloom thinning model, developed by Virginia Tech researchers, might offer New York apple growers more precision and increased yields.  In eastern New York, there has recently been increasing interest in thinning apples earlier at bloom to improve return bloom in biennial varieties like Honeycrisp, and to begin the thinning process earlier in hard…

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fall sfq diverse carrots 2019

On-Farm Variety Improvement Part II: Selection and Plant Breeding

By Kristen Loria / October 7, 2019

This article is a follow up to “On-Farm Plant Breeding Pt. I: Getting Started with Diversity”, published in the Summer 2019 SFQ. Starting there will provide more context to understand the following information. What is Selection? Selection is the basis of planting breeding. When we talk about selection as plant breeders, we are referring to…

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apples cals fall

New York is Ripe for Apple Harvest

By Kelsie Raucher / September 18, 2019

Apples will be bigger and better this harvest season, according to Cornell University experts. Largely in part to the weather working in favor for farmers this year, apple color, quality, and size should all be superlative this fall.  “2019 should be an excellent year for apple quality,” Cornell University professor Susan Brown, an apple breeder…

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Tipsheet: Transitioning to Organic Management of Orchards

By Kelsie Raucher / October 5, 2018

By Guy Ames, ATTRA  Organic certification verifies that fruit is produced according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic standards. See www.ams.usda.gov/nop for details of the standards. In general, the regulations make several requirements of certified organic fruit: Produced without genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge  Managed in a manner that conserves natural resources and biodiversity …

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