UC Researchers comparing size of fruit trees for quality

Published 08/11 2014 06:29PM

Updated 08/11 2014 06:36PM

The University California Researchers are testing a new method for picking fresh market fruit. Instead of making changes with equipment, they're making changes to the trees. The quality of fresh market fruit produced from tall trees and short trees is what UC researchers have been looking into. "We were looking at trying to better understand the labor components, the cost associated with small trees versus tall trees," said Kevin Day,

Tree Fruit Farm Advisor. Day has been comparing fruit quality between the taller and shorter trees for 17 years and says it was a surprise to find the overall quality is the same. Day took our news crew to peach and nectarine orchard the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier. The center is a testing site where there acres of pedestrian orchards. Beside comparing the height of trees and the quality of fruit they produce, this will give farmers a break, they can ditch ladders to reach high trees, and by doing that it's going to cut cost and improve worker safety. "Gets away from the effort of the skilled requirement to move and place them and also of course the potential hazards" said Day.

Rodolfo Cinseneros works at the orchard, he has been working on crops for more than 20 years and knows how tough this job can be on his body and says he'd rather work on short trees. "Using the ladder is too dangerous, you can fall off the ladder."

Researchers say the smaller trees are simply more cost effective. "You can save a minimum of 25 if not up to 50 percent on any particular labor operations," said Day.

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