Prune fruit trees into shape
Thursday, April 23, 2015 3:00 PM
GOSHEN, Ind. — A crowd gathered in a field A young apple blossom starts to show at Kercher’s Sunrise Orchard. The Twilight Fruit Growers Meeting was April 16 at Kercher’s Sunrise Orchard. Pruning is both an art form and a science. There are several different approaches growers can take to prune fruit trees. The No. 1 mistake growers make? Damaging vulnerable, young trees by excessive pruning — which affects growth later in the tree’s... Read More
“Edward Scissorhands” Replacing Hand Pruning
Two projects are underway in the Midwest to test and expand the use of mechanical grape vine pruning. One project in Wisconsin will evaluate mechanical rough pruning for cold climate hybrids. Another research project at Purdue University is looking at cutting edge technology to perform finer pruning using robotics.
During 2012, David Danzinger of Danzinger Vineyards in Alma, Wisconsin secured a grant from the USDA to study mechanical grape pruning in Wisconsin. The... Read More
The Robots are Coming
The day before Halloween, I wrote a story about Pleasanton, Calif.-based Adept Technology Inc., whose automated ClamPAC system is now being used to pack clamshells at San Juan Batista, Calif.-based Earthbound Farm.
The next night, following my kids around the dark streets of our neighborhood, I was just a tiny bit afraid of running into someone in a Terminator costume.
Are robots taking over? Should we be scared?
For the fresh produce industry, the answers to... Read More
Purdue gets $6 million to develop robotic pruning for grapes, apples
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University researchers received $6 million in grants to automate one of the most laborious and costly jobs in vineyards and apple orchards.
Each year, fruit growers spend about 20 percent of their labor costs on pruning vines and trees. Peter Hirst, an associate professor of horticulture, is leading a program to develop and improve machines that use cameras and robotic arms to do the work.
Robotic Pruning - SCRI project uses $6 million to develop system for dormant pruning apples and grapes.
Vision Robotics is well along in developing a robotic pruner for grapes, shown at work above, and the robotic shears pictured in the inset photo. Apple tree canopies are more three-dimensional than grapes and pruning decisions harder to make, a problem that will be addressed by experimenting on the tall spindle system, which uses a simplified renewal pruning process.
If researchers achieve the goals they have set for themselves, apple and grape growers should see the day when... Read More