Re: Apple-Crop: Spring 2008

2008-02-16 Thread Jon Clements
Hi Con, it is always interesting to hear what you have to say across  
the 'puddle.' Hard to believe it is somewhat spring-like there  
already. Here in the northeast U.S. it has been a pretty snowy  
winter, particularly in the mountains of northern New England where  
the skiers are having a grand time. We have not had extreme cold, it  
has barely dropped below zero (-4.3 F.) in central Massachusetts. The  
days are noticeably longer and daylight savings time starts in just 3  
weeks!


I will be very curious to see how the season evolves, as we are  
coming off two years of very good apple crops, yet I am seeing a lot  
of fruit buds still. I believe most would agree that last season the  
weather was very good -- not too hot, not too cold, not too much or  
too little rain, etc. I think the apples liked it.


The weather has been a little crazy in parts of the U.S., what with  
the rather odd tornado that struck Ken Hall's orchard in Illinois  
back in January, and then just under two weeks ago a major outbreak  
of tornadoes in the south that resulted in over 50 fatalities. Global  
warming (aka climate change) suggests we will experience more severe  
weather, but I am not sure how it can be documented if at all. (It  
will take time.) But I am sure as fruit growers, none of us wants to  
see an increase in extreme weather, my observation is that tree fruit  
likes nice 'normal' weather best.


Lastly, you mention the availability of labor, and I am not the best  
one to comment on this other than the fact it has become a 'hot  
button' in our presidential campaign (what do you all think of that?)  
and no doubt it is huge issue facing most farmers. I am not sure we  
will ever agree on a solution, but I think I just read somewhere that  
close to 70% of the agricultural labor force is not 'legally' here,  
FWIW.


Jon


Jon Clements
Extension Tree Fruit Specialist
UMass Cold Spring Orchard
393 Sabin Street
Belchertown, MA  01007
VOICE 413.478.7219
FAX 413.323.6647
IM mrhoneycrisp
Skype Name mrhoneycrisp
http://jmcextman.blogspot.com



On Feb 14, 2008, at 10:51 AM, Con.Traas wrote:


Hello all,
We are experiencing a lovely warm spell for this time of the year,  
and St. Valentine’s Day. Although warm, the trees are not so  
advanced as they were a few years ago, when the first Victoriaplum  
trees started flowering at this time. So, at the moment it looks as  
though (assuming the weather does not remain warm for too long) we  
will have an early spring, but not one for the record books, which  
is a relief, as we have often had damaging frosts in early May,  
which is still a long way off.
On our own farm we still have apples in store, and thanks to the  
Smartfresh treatment, they are really excellent. In fact, they seem  
to stay that fresh that I need to add far fewer high-acid apples to  
my juice to get a nice balance between sweetness and acidity. My  
only problem is to figure out what to do with the high acid apples.
In general growers were happy with apple demand this year, but are  
very concerned about the rising costs of fertiliser (linked to oil  
prices it seems), and agrochemicals. However, labour is still the  
number one cost, and it looks likely to remain that way. At least  
in Ireland it is possible to get labour, whereas in the UK and  
Holland, it can be very difficult.
I would be interested to hear what prospects are like in other  
parts of the World, and how the spring is shaping up. Right now  
I’ve got to go out and do a bit of work.

Con Traas







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Apple-Crop: Spring 2008

2008-02-14 Thread Con.Traas
Hello all,

We are experiencing a lovely warm spell for this time of the year, and
St. Valentine's Day. Although warm, the trees are not so advanced as
they were a few years ago, when the first Victoria plum trees started
flowering at this time. So, at the moment it looks as though (assuming
the weather does not remain warm for too long) we will have an early
spring, but not one for the record books, which is a relief, as we have
often had damaging frosts in early May, which is still a long way off.

On our own farm we still have apples in store, and thanks to the
Smartfresh treatment, they are really excellent. In fact, they seem to
stay that fresh that I need to add far fewer high-acid apples to my
juice to get a nice balance between sweetness and acidity. My only
problem is to figure out what to do with the high acid apples.

In general growers were happy with apple demand this year, but are very
concerned about the rising costs of fertiliser (linked to oil prices it
seems), and agrochemicals. However, labour is still the number one cost,
and it looks likely to remain that way. At least in Ireland it is
possible to get labour, whereas in the UK and Holland, it can be very
difficult.

I would be interested to hear what prospects are like in other parts of
the World, and how the spring is shaping up. Right now I've got to go
out and do a bit of work.

Con Traas

 

 



Re: Apple-Crop: Spring 2008

2008-02-14 Thread Bill Shoemaker
Con

It is still the dead of winter here, with Spring still far away. 

Bill Shoemaker, Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
University of Illinois - St Charles Horticulture Research Center - Chicago 
metro west
www.nres.uiuc.edu/faculty/directory/shoemaker_wh.html

Re: Apple-Crop: Spring 2008

2008-02-14 Thread Jill Kelly
Here in Maine we have about 3' of snow on the ground topped by 1/2 of ice.  We 
have bloom usually towards the end of May.  Your are right about the chemical 
input expenses.  They just spiral upwards.  The best we can do is to do a good 
job of soil and leaf analysis and only use what is required.  For pest and 
disease control we do IPM.  It's the best we can manage.  Dwarf trees help.  In 
my opinion organic is a poor choice for us.  Too many trips spraying (30 or 
more) and too much material(especially sulfur, which can't be good for the 
soil).  Our primary variety is McIntosh which is susceptible to apple scab.  
Thankfully, we don't need to apply much Nitrogen.  Often foliar will do.  
Smartfresh has made a big difference for us.  There seems to be an improving 
market and a sense of optimism that I have not experienced in many years.  Our 
labor is mostly H-2A (Jamacian) and is experienced, skilled and reliable but 
very expensive.  We had our best crop in several years in 2007 but can only 
hope for a repeat in 2008.

Art Kelly
  From: Con.Traas 
  To: Apple-Crop 
  Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 10:51 AM
  Subject: Apple-Crop: Spring 2008


  Hello all,

  We are experiencing a lovely warm spell for this time of the year, and St. 
Valentine's Day. Although warm, the trees are not so advanced as they were a 
few years ago, when the first Victoria plum trees started flowering at this 
time. So, at the moment it looks as though (assuming the weather does not 
remain warm for too long) we will have an early spring, but not one for the 
record books, which is a relief, as we have often had damaging frosts in early 
May, which is still a long way off.

  On our own farm we still have apples in store, and thanks to the Smartfresh 
treatment, they are really excellent. In fact, they seem to stay that fresh 
that I need to add far fewer high-acid apples to my juice to get a nice balance 
between sweetness and acidity. My only problem is to figure out what to do with 
the high acid apples.

  In general growers were happy with apple demand this year, but are very 
concerned about the rising costs of fertiliser (linked to oil prices it seems), 
and agrochemicals. However, labour is still the number one cost, and it looks 
likely to remain that way. At least in Ireland it is possible to get labour, 
whereas in the UK and Holland, it can be very difficult.

  I would be interested to hear what prospects are like in other parts of the 
World, and how the spring is shaping up. Right now I've got to go out and do a 
bit of work.

  Con Traas