The Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center (NWMHRC) recently received their newest piece of equipment thanks to funding provided by the Michigan Tree Fruit Commission.
The NWMHRC staff had the opportunity to test three orchard platforms last spring to determine which one was the best fit for its station. The staff members chose an Italian model made by the company N.Blosi.
The Blosi Platform is designed to move both horizontally, like a vehicle, as well as vertically to reach the tops of taller trees. They are engineered with technology that is able to lift the platform up in the air, as well rotate the platform to lean into the tree canopy. The flexibility of this machine will allow station staff to work in small and large trees and will accommodate work in orchards planted on side hills.
“We are so excited to finally have the platform; there were at least 50 times that I wished we had it this season for various research projects at the station,” Nikki Rothwell, NWMHRC coordinator says. “This platform has the potential to drastically increase our efficiency here at the station.”
Rothwell says this platform will make it easier to study the effectiveness of plant growth regulators in sweet cherries, as the research team needs to collect data throughout the canopies.
“Many growers are starting to embrace some of the new technology that is available for orchards — having a platform at the research station where growers can actually see the impacts of this technology will likely increase the rate of adoption,” says Mark Miezio, a Leelanau County, MI, grower who serves on the board of the Michigan Tree Fruit Commission.