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Bob Larson Pear Estimates for 2018 Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: August 16, 2018

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. New estimates for this year’s pear crop have jumped 6.5%.

The latest grower data estimates about 444,400 tons of fresh Northwest pears, up from May estimates of 415,000 tons …

STEPHENSON … “Yeah, it looks good. About four years ago we had a couple of great years in a row and this year is certainly better than the last three. So, we are happy to see our numbers up. It means a good strong healthy crop as well as it means that we’ve got a strong crop of trees going forward.”

On the trade front, Pear Bureau Northwest’s Kathy Stephenson says exports to Mexico should be good …

STEPHENSON … “That’s our number one export market, so we certainly rely heavily on trade with Mexico and then Canada being our second largest market. And, we see all indications that we should have a terrific year with them as well.”

On the other hand, Stephenson says China could be different …

STEPHENSON … “And then in China we are certainly on the list of items that could see extra tariffs. We would hope that things would settle down before our product starts to ship in October. We have prepared to back some of our promotions out in China. We just don’t know yet.”

She says China, fortunately, is just one market …

STEPHENSON … “But, it’s a small percentage of our crop that goes to China so the other markets are still strong and we feel pretty confident that we’ll hit that 30 to 40 percent of the crop being shipped overseas.”

Green Anjou makes up about 49.2% of the total Northwest pear crop, with Bartlett second at 26% and Bosc third at 15.7%. Organic pears make up 10% of the crop.

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BL: Welcome back to another “Fruit Bites” brought to you by Valent U.S.A. With us again is Valent’s Allison Walston. And this week Allison, let’s talk about robot fruit picking machines.

AW: We are nearing fruit picking time or harvest for both apples and pears. Apples and pears have long been hand harvested usually by seasonal or temporary workers.

BL: And, this should help with the major shortage of farm labor.

AW: With that labor shortage comes a rush to create the perfect robot to pick fruit equal to a human in both cost and effectiveness.

BL: And the advantages using machines would be no ladders and potentially less bruised fruit & maybe even 24-hour harvesting.

AW: Some of the machines have ranged from robotic arms with finger grippers to harvesters that use a soft vacuuming method. Cameras & sensors guide them through the orchard and each tree to find the fruit.

BL: And if their estimates of 10,000 apples per hour are accurate … that’s fast.

AW: what if it comes to saying “ok robot, go pick this orchard”

BL: Well, thanks Allison. Join us again next time for Fruit Bites, brought to you by Valent. Until then, I’m Bob Larson.

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