Ready for apple harvest?

Many orchards appear heavy laden with good sized fruit, and growers are gearing up for a big harvest job. Here are a few comments to help smooth the harvest:

  • Apple maturity: Appears to be "average", as opposed to such early harvests in the past few years. Also, with so much moisture, cultivars may not mature in their typical order. This will make it important to check each block regularly.
  • Maturity test equipment: A pressure tester, a refractometer and an iodine dip kit will be invaluable. Dig out your Cornell Generic starch chart and record sheets to record results on harvest maturity. This may be important information if there are storage concerns.
  • Stop-drop: ReTain should be applied at least 4 weeks before the anticipated harvest- and it's better to be early than late! Apply Fruitone-N (NAA) when the first sound apples drop (not push-offs), to hold apples for 7-10 days (allow 1-2 days to take effect). Coverage is important for both products, and moderate (20-24ºC) temperatures are preferred.
  • Bins: It takes 2000 apples of 3 1/8"(100-count) to fill a bin. To fill the same bin with 2 ¾"(138-count) fruit, it will require 2760 apples. Read more in "How to Estimate Bin Requirements: Harvesting Efficiently by Having the Right Number of Bins Ready" online.
  • Reflective mulch: Well-coloured fruit harvest more efficiently, especially in the interior of the trees. Growers report that most of the fruit can be picked in one pass where this mulch is used. Read more in "Using Reflective Mulch for Light Management in Orchards" online.
  • Traceability: Bin tags, markers, stapler, staples, staple pullers, daily record book - almost like getting ready for school! However, your buyers need to know who picks what and when, so it's good to get the records.
  • Labour: Costs are high, so workers need everything in good order. Boots, rain gear, insect repellent, toilets, picking buckets, ladders, repair parts, hand washing facilities, records of training - these details are critical to maximize their efficiency.
  • Laneways, loading ramps: Smoothing these out will prevent bruising in the bins from "rut" damage.

Preparations now could save precious time during harvest. Good luck!


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca