Tart Cherry Over the Row Harvest

Date: July 29, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center, 6686 S. Center Highway, Traverse City, MI 49684
Contact: Ron Perry, perryr@msu.edu, 517-353-0433

Michigan State University Extension is inviting members of the northern tart cherry industry and affiliates to view a harvesting of tart cherries planted in a high density block research trial at theNorthwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center (NWMHRC). The plot was established in 2011 with the support of Project GREEEN and the Michigan Cherry Producers. The planting has six varieties of sour cherry planted 5 x 13 feet. We are experimenting with treatments to maintain trees in a compact canopy to accommodate an over the row harvester used normally to harvest berry crops. This work began in 2008 with the support of the Michigan Cherry Producers to determine the feasibility of this approach to growing and producing sour cherries. The traditional approach maintains trees at greater distances (15-20 feet apart) using trunk shakers and catch frame machinery.

With the support of the Michigan Tree Fruit CommissionMichigan State Horticultural Society and the International Fruit Tree Association, we will be harvesting the research plot using a Littau ORXL (2013 model) berry harvester. Previous work with the Twin-Tower Rotating-Tine harvester mechanism has been found to be efficient and effective in fruit removal of cherries. We tested the Littau Harvester, sold and rented through Spring Brook Supply in Holland, Michigan, at Oxley Farms near Lawton, Michigan, on July 13 and 14. The machine removed fruit at a very high rate of efficiency with minimal canopy damage.

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