These ten minute 'Learn Now' videos are short, to-the-point guides explaining topics that are fundamental to commercial orchard intensification and efficiency. These videos have been translated into Spanish by native speakers and allow growers to learn topics from extension educators in their native language.
Current video topics focus on orchard practices that help increase efficiency and profitability. Videos were developed in part from the findings of an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) project. The CIG project aimed to develop growing systems and technologies that allow for greater mechanization and labor efficiency in orchards, with the long-term goal of developing fully automated orchard systems.
An article about the English version of these videos appeared in last month's Fruit Times.
From their research efforts, Dr. Jim Schupp and project team members determined seven key steps to developing a successful high density apple planting. "El Sistema de Planos para Huertos de Manzano" covers these steps to ensure growers converting their blocks to high density systems can get the most value out of their new plantings. Some of these practices include: planting high densities of size-controlling rootstocks, training trees to form a fruiting wall to maximize light interception, and simplified pruning and training tasks to increase labor efficiency.
Annual peach pruning is an important practice for producing high quality peach crops. "El Sistema de Poda en Huertos de Durazno" reviews efficient pruning practices from planting through maturity to keep the fruiting zone of the trees at the proper height. The video also reviews how to calculate the number of fruiting shoots to keep on the tree to achieve a targeted crop load per acre.
These calculations were determined through years of data collection by Dr. Rich Marini, and have been successfully used by growers to efficiently prune their trees. Using your target crop load, you can use the amount of trees per acre to calculate the number of shoots per tree that need to remain on the tree after pruning. You can then prune the trees to this desired number, keeping mostly one year old shoots between six and eighteen inches in length, as these tend to produce the best fruit.
In addition to training systems and pruning, the team has released a video on tree propagation, with another to be released in December. "Injerto inglés o de lengüeta" reviews how to bench graft, allowing growers to propagate old heirlooms or unique mutations they find in the orchard to dwarfing rootstocks to evaluate their potential use. The video also discusses how to care for the young grafted trees before moving them out into the orchard. "Injerto de Corona o de Corteza" will guide growers through the process of top-working trees, and will discuss how to manage the planting in the subsequent years as the grafts begin to refill their allotted space along the trellis.
The Spanish translations of these videos are part of a larger effort to develop more educational materials in Spanish for Latino farmers throughout the state, and are made possible in part by a USDA beginning farmer and a PDA specialty crop grant.