Sweet Cherry Research. I'm Greg Martin with today's Fruit Grower Report.
Research is one of the most important pieces of the ag industry but one that few people see. It takes considerable time and of course money. Tracie Arnold, Project Coordinator/Communications Specialist for WSU Prosser – IAREC says they are currently using a grant to continue their work on sweet cherries.
ARNOLD: It's a 4 year research and outreach grant from the USDA and its long term goal is basically to develop a highly efficient sweet cherry production, processing and marketing system. Most people don't think about all the efforts it takes to get food to their table and a lot of cost is involved and we want to find some economic solutions for the sweet cherry industry.
Developments in new cherry varieties is ongoing but Arnold says they are really looking at the whole picture.
ARNOLD: We're talking about looking at the entire infrastructure and of course it does include changing the cherry itself. What we would like to do is find a way to harvest the cherries in a more economical fashion. Cherries are the most labor intensive crop to harvest right now and up to 60% of all growers costs are related to labor.
Labor of course is a volatile issue in all of ag now but Arnold says that is really a major focus of their work.
ARNOLD: To be able to mechanically harvest cherries and reduce the need for laborers and also increase the safety. They won't be on ladders and needing to get up in the trees and really looking out for the safety of those laborers as well.
That's today's Fruit Grower Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.