Organic Apple Grower’s Hour: August 28 Summary

Note: This is the last Organic Apple Grower’s Hour of the summer. We will hold one more conference call in November (date and time TBA). This call will be an opportunity for growers to discuss with Michael and others the effectiveness of their orchard management strategies this season.
Also, I will soon post an evaluation form for the calls. I hope you will take a moment to fill one out. The evaluations will help us to decide whether and when to hold these calls again, and how to improve them. Your input is greatly appreciated!-Lisa

Participants (6 total): Deirdre Birmingham, Mineral Point, WI; Sam Atkins, Bayfield, WI; Bill Wright, Green Bay, WI; WI; Lisa DiPietro, Madison, WI; Michael Phillips, Groveton, NH (one person did not announce their name)
Discussion Topics:
1. Current events at Michael’s orchard: harvesting Dutchess, Red Free, Williams Pride, and Ginger Gold; very low incidence of fungal or insect damage; most insect damage found in areas that were not thinned
2. A method of surveying for fruit damage to assess the effectiveness of your management
3. Controlling summer fruit rots: sanitation, horseradish root infusion, strobilurins
4. Controlling soft bodied insects (such as leaf hoppers) with Stylet oil or Neem oil: avoiding phytotoxicity, oil’s mode of action, spray intervals, benefits of using Neem instead of Stylet
5. Fruit Brix: as a way to assess effectiveness of a foliar spray, as a way to predict fruit maturity, as an indicator of soil nutrient balance, approximate cost/ac of Peaceful Valley’s “Brix mix,” etc.
6. Cost per acre of producing organic apples: Michael’s cost vs. the cost for an orchard using practically every organic input allowed, deciding whether an input is worth the investment
7. Pricing: what Michael is charging for apples and how he decided on that price
8. Percent pack-out: how Michael’s percent pack-out has changed from 50% in the mid 90’s to about 85% today.
9. Yield: lower yields in some organic orchards may be partially due to overuse of sulfur
If you would like to hear the call recording, dial (712) 432-1284, then enter this access code: 868736. Each week’s recording will be available via telephone until it is erased by the following week’s call.
Download the call