Safety and Tree Fruit Pt 3
Northwest Horticultural Council president, Mark Powers says employers are bending over backwards to keep everyone safe, but the perception of many outside of agriculture may not be accurate …
POWERS … “I don’t want to prejudge anybody’s position. I think there’s a lot of fear out there and unfortunately there’s a lot of misunderstanding and what’s important is that we talk about facts and we make sure that the needs and the true protections that are necessary are widely available.”
But, Powers says the packing houses are still up and running …
POWERS … “They are not, perhaps, operating as efficiently as they would like, but that isn’t totally a result of, you know, worker concerns. It’s the fact that they have to implement changes to slow down the line or to have more distance between employees, and so the efficiencies have gone down. As far as I’m aware, everybody’s still packing fruit and going to work every day and keeping the trucks going.”
Another challenge, Powers says is the surplus of fruit …
POWERS … “Unfortunately, we are also seeing increases in inventory and it’s perhaps a little bit different obviously than potatoes in terms of varieties and other grades and all of that.”
Come back tomorrow for more on the challenges ag employers face in keeping everyone healthy during harvest season.
BL: Welcome back to another “Fruit Bites” brought to you by the good folks at Valent U.S.A. And with us as always is Valent’s Allison Walston. And this week Allison, let’s talk about Woolly Apple Aphids.
AW: Woolly apple aphids are named due to the white cottony, waxy filaments that surround and protect the soft bodied aphid. This covering also makes controlling this aphid rather difficult due to the extra barrier of waxy protection. And you can start seeing them in the tree canopy this time of year.
BL: So, I take it the Woolly Apple Aphid is tough on apples?
AW: Yes, they feed on twigs & branches, producing honeydew droplets that grow sooty mold on the apples, and they can gather in the stem bowl and calyx end causing export issues. They overwinter underground on the roots, where feeding leaves galls that stress the trees. The Malling rootstock series was actually developed to be resistant to woolly apple aphids and the Geneva rootstock series has some resistance too.
BL: Well, thanks Allison. Join us again next time for more Fruit Bites, brought to you by Valent. Until then, I’m Bob Larson.