Evaluating Cherry Training Systems

Cherry Tall Spindle Axe

As every fruit grower knows, there are two ways to increase profits: either increase returns, or cut costs. With the three cherry training systems Robert Arceo is testing as the California part of a North Central 140 Regional Rootstock Research project (NC-140), he is attempting to find a way to do both.

A grower and consultant in Courtland, which is located near the state capital of Sacramento, Arceo is growing Benton variety cherries on various Gisela rootstocks utilizing three training systems: Upright Fruiting Offshoot (UFO), Tall Spindle Axe (TSA), and Kym Green Bush (KGB). The trees are grown on Gisela 3, 5, 6, and 12. So far, Arceo says the best matchups appear to be UFO trees growing on Gisela 12, the most vigorous of the three rootstocks; the TSA on 3, the least vigorous; and the KGB on 5. The trees were planted just two years ago by Arceo and University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisors Joe Grant and Chuck Ingels, but Arceo is pleased by what he’s seen so far.

“I’m really liking this; I think it’s got a lot of potential,” he says, and he thinks other growers will agree.

Cost Savings

Arceo is convinced each of the new systems will represent a cost savings over older, traditional cherry training systems because the trees will require fewer man-hours. “We’re trying to create a pedestrian-type orchard where there’s not a lot of ladder work,” he says. “An inexperienced picker can pick at least as much fruit, but more often much more, than an experienced picker in a normal orchard.”

Ingels says that not only does labor represent a grower’s biggest cost, but with the issue of immigration reform up in the air, no one knows if cherry growers will even be certain of having enough employees in the future. “It boils down to labor availability,” he says. “That’s what’s driving this project.”

Climbing up and down ladders is not only a huge waste of time, it represents a potential safety problem that can affect workers’ compensation insurance costs. “We have the dwarfing rootstocks for cherries,” Ingels notes. “Shorter trees just make sense because they’re easier for workers and they’re more efficient in terms of time.”

Besides being easier to pick, the trees in this trial are easier to train, notes Arceo. “With a conventional orchard, you get 10 guys out there and they prune it 10 different ways,” he says. “This is pretty simple, because you always do (the given training system) the same.”

Potential Yield Increase

Arceo feels that he will see yield increases with the new systems, in addition to the cost savings. However, not only is it too early in the trial, he has been hit recently with horrible weather. In fact, he hasn’t picked any cherries in the past two years. “A 100% wipeout,” he says, shaking his head. However, Ingels notes that if Arceo didn’t believe in the newer systems, he wouldn’t be training some of his own trees with the new systems. Also, even without yield increases, Ingels says that there are potentially more savings on pest management because the growers will have smaller trees to spray and will use less material.

Ingels believes the training systems might be more precocious, especially the TSA. “For early production, it might be a winner, but we just don’t know yet,” he says. “With higher earlier production you may get more overall tonnage in the long run.”

Watch A Video Of These Systems!

The conventional training system used for cherries has been open center, or open vase, notes Chuck Ingels. Open center training produces a large tree, requiring workers to move ladders around and within each tree to prune and harvest, with a relatively wide spacing between trees of approximately 12 to 15 feet.

With the high cost of labor and increasingly unavailable labor supply, newer training systems are being used in other parts of the country and the world that require less labor and therefore lower costs. To watch a video of each of these systems,.

To learn more from the perspective of Dr. Greg Lang, a lead researcher involved in the NC-140 trials, go to the next page.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
hands holding a globe
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Overpopulation Problem?
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Falcon-takes-flight-at-Duncan-Family-Farms
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan Family Farms
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Florida Ag Hall of Famer William Cook
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Agriculture Hall of Famers
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 23, 2017
Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor Shortage
USApple leader Phil Glaize of Virginia stresses need for reform with current labor regulations, programs at Congressional briefing on agriculture labor crisis. Read More
Stone Fruit
May 23, 2017
Northeast Peach Crop Rebounds
After a mild winter and relatively uneventful bloom time, the crop is setting up nicely for the region. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Longer Berry Season in Northeast
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
honeybees
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research on Honeybee Health
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
Crop Protection
May 23, 2017
Valent Grants Organic Farming Scholarship to Next Generation Researcher
University of Florida Doctor of Plant Medicine student receives $1,500 toward the development of training materials. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
Short on Water, Florida Growers Know How to Dig Down Deep
Through drought, smoke and brush fires, it’s plain to see you farmers have been doing your part to conserve and preserve one of our most precious resources. Read More
seattle port shipping
Citrus
May 20, 2017
USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade
Reorganization puts trade, farm production as top priorities for the agency. Read More
Grapes
May 19, 2017
Researchers Still Have a Lot to Learn about Spotted Lanternfly
While some feeding habits have been recognized, there’s still a learning curve with this enigmatic invasive pest. Read More
Fruits
May 19, 2017
Representatives Introduce Bill to Boost Organic Farming Research
As organic production continues to grow, legislators seek to boost research funding, which has remained stagnant for many years. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
EPA Seeks States’ Input On Waters of the U.S. Rule
As the agency considers scaling back the water rule, states are asked to define protected waters. Read More
Berries
May 15, 2017
Grower Comments on Pyrethroids Being Sought by EPA
Comment period on popular class of insecticides opens today. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 15, 2017
U.S. Apple Board Member Stresses Labor Reform At Senate Farm Bill Hearing
Michigan apple grower says agriculture’s future depends on Farm Bill funding. Read More
The Latest
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Plight of Trade Policy Grounding Many U.…
Much-needed investments in labor-saving technology could be key to long-term survival. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal …
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Ove…
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan …
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Ag…
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research o…
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
Crop Protection
May 23, 2017
Valent Grants Organic Farming Scholarshi…
University of Florida Doctor of Plant Medicine student receives $1,500 toward the development of training materials. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
Short on Water, Florida Growers Know How…
Through drought, smoke and brush fires, it’s plain to see you farmers have been doing your part to conserve and preserve one of our most precious resources. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade
Reorganization puts trade, farm production as top priorities for the agency. Read More
Fruits
May 19, 2017
Representatives Introduce Bill to Boost …
As organic production continues to grow, legislators seek to boost research funding, which has remained stagnant for many years. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
EPA Seeks States’ Input On Waters of the…
As the agency considers scaling back the water rule, states are asked to define protected waters. Read More
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Drought Conditions Deepen Across Central…
Water Shortage Warning Order expanded to all counties within St. Johns River Water Management District. Read More
Citrus
May 9, 2017
Barn Owls Can be an Effective Control fo…
The predators are already getting results in vineyards and orchards. Research is showing they’re just as effective in vegetable and fruit fields. Read More
Fruits
May 4, 2017
Senate Democrats Unveil New Ag Labor Pla…
Feinstein, colleagues introduce legislation to shield farmworkers from deportation. Read More
Fruits
May 2, 2017
Penn State Offers Tips To Manage Early S…
Warm weather has quickly accelerated development of insects. Read More
Crop Protection
April 30, 2017
BASF Adds Pest, Crop, Weather Modeling t…
ZedX’s agronomic models help farmers make better production decisions. Read More
Citrus
April 29, 2017
Florida Ag Commissioner Pushes for Probe…
With a focus on Mexico, letter sent by Adam Putnam to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary stresses need for level playing field. Read More
Crop Protection
April 29, 2017
BioSafe Systems Introduces Broad-Spectru…
Alternative to potassium bicarbonate and lime sulfur for tree and vine crops. Read More