Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Horizontal string trimmer reduces labor costs, increases peach size

Date:
December 11, 2009
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Hand thinning, a common practice employed by growers to produce larger, healthier fruit, is among the most labor-intensive of orchard practices. Researchers are investigating the impacts of a horizontal string thinner for use by peach producers. A string thinner prototype for open-center tree canopies was tested in six orchards. Remarkably, fruit size at harvest was increased by the horizontal string thinner in all but one trial.

The horizontal prototype of a string thinner is designed to thin peach blossoms in orchards trained to open-center or vase systems.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Tara Baugher

As consumer demand for premium fruit increases, growers are being challenged to bring consistently high-quality fruit to market. And to boost their bottom line, orchard owners are experimenting with new techniques that can increase fruit quality while reducing labor costs.

Hand thinning, a common practice employed by growers to produce larger, healthier fruit, is among the most labor-intensive of orchard practices, with a significant impact on fruit production overhead, and, ultimately, prices paid by consumers. A research team from Penn State published the results of new research on a horizontal string thinner used in peach production in a recent issue of HortTechnology. A string thinner prototype for open-center tree canopies was tested in six orchards. Remarkably, fruit size at harvest was increased by the horizontal string thinner in all but one trial.

Project leaders Tara Baugher and Jim Schupp noted that higher-quality fruit can result when "blossom thinning" is used. The thinning technique ideally removes 50% to 75% of the excess fruit early in the growing season and is most often done by hand. But the practice is labor-intensive and can carry an enormous financial burden; a recent survey reported that Eastern peach growers commonly spend $350 to $600 per acre for hand-thinning peaches, while California peach producers spent an average of $1000 per acre, with extremes of up to $1500 per acre reported.

New mechanical string blossom thinner prototypes may offer cost-effective alternatives to hand thinning, with a favorable impact on grower profitability by reducing labor requirements and improving fruit size and quality. The team designed experiments that compared the efficacy of the horizontal string blossom thinner in traditional vase-shaped peach canopies to conventional hand thinning at 35 to 40 days after bloom, and evaluated several labor-efficient bloom-thinning methods in various combinations.

The horizontal string thinner prototype reduced blossom density, crop load density, and hand fruit thinning time in five of six trials, resulting in significant reductions in labor costs. According to the report, the percentage of blossom removal in open-center canopies was more variable than the percentage of removal reported previously with a vertical string thinner in perpendicular "V" canopies. The scientists also noted that two combination treatments -- mechanical thinning followed by hand blossom thinning, and thinning with a horizontal followed by a vertical string thinner -- suggested additional strategies for achieving the most desirable thinning results.

Baugher observed that, while this research shows the potential benefits of a horizontal blossom thinner in traditional vase-shaped peach tree canopies, "the increased speed and efficacy of mechanical thinning technology may be an incentive to hasten industry adoption of narrow canopy training systems."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Auxt Baugher, J.r. Schupp, K.m. Lesser and K. Hess-Reichard. Horizontal String Blossom Thinner Reduces Labor Input and Increases Fruit Size in Peach Trees Trained to Open-center Systems. HortTechnology, 19: 755-761 (2009) [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Horizontal string trimmer reduces labor costs, increases peach size." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091211093643.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2009, December 11). Horizontal string trimmer reduces labor costs, increases peach size. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091211093643.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Horizontal string trimmer reduces labor costs, increases peach size." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091211093643.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins