Road Map: Technology Update 2004

Pesticide Issues Conference
  • Lewis, Karen M.

What happened to profitability in the national tree fruit industry?

  • Can we do anything about it?
  • What do we mean by technology?
  • A new, national effort for tree fruit
Challenges to U.S. Agriculture
  • Global markets, Local inputs
  • Labor cost & availability
  • Trade policies
  • Consumer demand stagnant
  • Retail consolidation
  • Environmental accountability
  • Competing uses for farmland, water
  • Food safety & biosecurity
The Packer

Apple growers jockey for room in export race

China and Washington state squeeze other producers

By Chris Koger, Staff Writer

When apple shippers discuss their export sales, it's a case of East meets West.

The Packer

Supply cuts lack support, leaving apple promotion the only option

Tom Karst, Executive Markets Editor

Reduce supply or enhance demand. In the end, those are the options that Desmond O'Rourke outlined in a speech before the World Apple and Pear Association in Brussels, Belgium, earlier this month. And only one choice is really viable.

The Packer

Ag bill clears U.S. House

The apple industry wins $150 million in market loss assistance under the $74.2 billion outlay

By Jim Offner, Senior Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Produce leaders in the nation's capital say they don't anticipate any major problems in the Senate now that the House of Representatives has passed its $74.2 billion agriculture appropriations bill.

Saturday, August 11, 2001
Seattle TImes

Incentive program to chase away old apples

By Linda Ashton
The Associated Press

YAKIMA — Just weeks before the 2001 harvest begins, the Washington apple industry is preparing to spend up to $5 million to keep a lot of last year's crop out of the fresh market

Marketing, promotion, and $$ assistance help, but is there anything else we can do?

Can we do anything about it?

Sure! We can figure out who to blame!
  • domestic/foreign competitors
  • government regulators
  • marketers
  • retailers
  • consumers
  • ourselves

The End of Agriculture in the American Portfolio
Stephen Blank, 1999
average net return to agriculture negative since 1994
“farmers could do better just depositing their money in the bank”
food production will shift to low cost producers

The Lexus and the Olive Tree
Thomas Friedman, 1999
“Technology created globalization and it is technology that will enable the US to compete globally”

We can use technology to change the way we do business
  • Lower unit costs of production and processing
  • Continually improve and redefine product quality
  • Develop new products and processes
  • Restructure industry/research interaction
These are research challenges that require new investment

Lower Unit Costs
  • Apply existing knowledge and technology more fully
  • Develop and implement new technology, e.g. precision agriculture
  • Improve every step of the road to market
Improve Product Quality

Quality is far more than color, size and firmness

Activists, consumers, distributors, government, etc. are demanding that food provide traditional attributes PLUS additional product qualities and assurances

New Products and Processes
  • Consumers will not eat more of the same
  • Explore changing tastes and habits
  • Develop products that meet emerging needs
  • Are GMOs in our future?
Restructure and Reinvent
  • Industry firms and institutions must change
    • more market-oriented
    • technically adept and innovative
    • set an overall vision
  • Commodity groups must cooperate
  • Work force must understand technology and innovation
  • Science and Business must work better together
What do we mean by technology?

What is technology?

  • Systematic treatment of an art
  • The practical application of knowledge
  • A manner of accomplishing a task, especially using technical processes, methods, or knowledge
  • In the digital age, add information technology
  • As appropriate, add biotechnology




Automated Orchard Systems?

Orchard design

Robotic tractors

Water management

Canopy management

Remote sensing

Mechanical harvest

Appropriate technologies exist

Our national tree fruit industry can compete:
  • climate, soils, water
  • capital proximity to markets
  • access to technology
Now is the time for action

A new, national effort for tree fruit




Dave Allan
Allan Bros. Fruit

Jim Doornink
Doornink Fruit Ranch

Charlie de LaChapelle
7C’s Orchards

Dana Faubion
WSU Cooperative Extension

Rob Lynch
Holtzinger Fruit Co.

Jim McFerson
WA Tree Fruit Research Comm

Fran Pierce
WSU Ctr for Precision Ag Sys

To be profitable in a globally competitive marketplace, the U.S. tree fruit industry must deliver the highest quality fruit and reduce production costs 30% by 2010

Overview of roadmap

Defines the problem -- increased global competition in traditional US markets

Identifies key technical barriers escalating production costs increased demands for fruit quality

Describes essential R&D areas

Sets specific R&D priorities to overcome technical barriers

Key Technical Barriers

Agricultural Sciences

Production and Harvest

Packing and Shipping


National Steering Group 2002

Herb Aldwinkle
Cornell Univ
Geneva, NY

Phil Baugher
Adams County Nursery
Aspers, PA

Scott Cameron
Beltsville, MD

John Hickman
John Deere
Moline, IL

Jim McFerson
Wenatchee, WA

2002 Committee on Appropriations Report (S2801)

Develop a new, national strategy for tree fruit R&D

With help from USApple, Northwest Horticultural Council, Sens. Murray and Cantwell, and Reps. Walsh, Hinchey, Nethercutt

National Steering Group 2004

Herb Aldwinkle
Cornell Univ
Geneva, NY

Phil Baugher
Adams County Nursery
Aspers, PA

John Bukovac
Michigan State Univ
E Lansing, MI

Scott Cameron
Beltsville, MD

John Hickman
John Deere
E Lansing MI

Phil Korson
E Lansing MI

Jim McFerson
Wenatchee WA

Pete Nowak
Univ Wisconsin
Madison WI

Fran Pierce
Washington State Univ
Prosser WA

Clark Seavert
Oregon State Univ
Hood River OR

Darek Swietlik
Kearneysville WV

Mary Symms-Pollot
ID Dept Ag
Boise ID


Establish broad-based national steering group.
September, 2002

Obtain input from tree fruit producers and processors and the scientific, engineering and business communities.
Nov 2002-Feb 2003

Nationalize the Tree Fruit Technology Roadmap through a participatory workshop.
Mar 2003

Synthesize workshop input.
Mar-Apr 2003

Obtain further Congressional support.
July 2003

Define national industry/research effort.
Nov 2003

House Committee on Appropriations Report 2003 (108-193)

"The Committee encourages the Department to continue to work closely with the tree fruit industry to complete the Technology Roadmap process and develop a national research strategy.The Committee expects the Department to submit a strategic plan by November 31, 2003, that includes suggestions for future research initiatives, based on strong public/private collaborations." Initiate a new, national strategy for tree fruit R&D

With help from USApple, Northwest Horticultural Council, Sens. Murray and Cantwell, and Reps. Walsh, Hinchey, Nethercutt

Roadmap priorities

Information technology
  • Plant breeding, genetics, and Genomics
  • Sensors, automation, and mechanization
  • Crop health, development & quality
  • Improved consumer products and food services
Genomics and genetics to understand and manipulate fruit quality attributes

Gianni Teo, Ted DeJong, Abhaya Dandekar UC-Davis Lailiang Cheng, Cornell Univ

  • One minute real-time Temperature Broadcast to Base
    • 2 minute random interval broadcast
  • Multiple receivers
    • Encrypted
  • Signal Wind Machine

AgFrostNet™ Software

Challenge: Start a wind machine motor here and now!

Monitor Crops Throughout Growing Season

Developing Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis To Improve Tree Fruit Production

Robotic Vehicles
John Deere September 2003

New Technologies in IPM

Jay Brunner
Vince Jones

Attract and Kill for leafrollers

Fibers for codling moth and leafrollers

PDA Based Spray Recommendation Databases for Deciduous Fruits

Gary Grove
Vince Jones

Pheromone dispensing systems

Are all dispensers created equal?

Evaluating pheromone dispensing systems

Vince Hebert
Jay Brunner
Vince Jones

Volatile trapping system (VTS)
  • Aged dispenser placed into teflon chamber and clean air passed over.
  • Volatile pheromone released and trapped.
  • Trapped pheromone extracted and the amount determined by GC-MS.

Volatile Compound Sensor

Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, NM

  • Uses chemiresistor technology
  • Polymer coated on wire like electrodes on a chip swells as it absorbs a volatile compound. The swelling changes the electrical resistance in proportion to the chemical vapor concentration. Polymers shrink when chemical is removed and their resistance returns to original state.
Putting pieces together to improve pest management


Precision agriculture and automation in fruit production, handling, and processing operations

Tree fruit genomics, breeding, and germplasm

Bio-intensive crop health programs with optimized fruit quality, safety, and nutritive value

Innovative, resource-efficient orchard systems

New fruit products

Real-time sensor and imaging capabilities carried via affordable and accessible rural

Roadmap Principles
  • A multi-disciplinary, cross-industry approach.
  • Progress in single, isolated, technical areas will not be sufficient.
  • Research projects conducted in a parallel and coordinated manner.
  • No single organization has the breadth and depth of research skills required for the overall needs.
  • Research support may be given to one area, but this should be done in concert with other projects within the cross-industry system.

Maximizing worker productivity and safety while minimizing low-skill tasks

Reducing production and handling costs while providing the consumer a superior product

Enhancing stewardship of natural resources

Progress since 2001

Support from WA organizations

Support from other state organizations: ID, MI, NY, OR, PA, VA

National industry-researcher workshop

Support from Congress

First funding initiative underway

New research underway

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