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Growers in pursuit of precision agriculture

Mario Miranda Sazo

Mario Miranda Sazo

From Good Fruit Grower [2017-09-19]:

As New York growers seek to expand fresh market production of high quality fruit, they are looking for ways to maximize performance of high-density apple plantings and recoup the investments of new orchards faster.

Luckily, Cornell University researchers continue to learn how to optimize horticultural practices in the region’s signature tall-spindle systems, and they shared their findings on irrigation, nutrition and chemical thinning with growers at a summer field day at five farms in the Lake Ontario fruit belt.

Although it’s been a wet season so far, growers haven’t forgotten the drought of the previous year, with losses of 47 percent for those without irrigation, according to a Cornell study.

More growers are investing in irrigation systems said Mario Miranda Sazo, extension educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Lake Ontario Fruit Program.

“When I came here in 2009 and started talking about irrigation, you all said, ‘You don’t know our weather here,’” Miranda Sazo joked with the tour group. “But we should be putting irrigation on these new plantings and little by little, growers are installing it. You have to baby-sit these trees from the get-go.”

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