WA cherry farmers seek new harvest techniques

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Associated Press

Posted on January 12, 2013 at 6:32 PM

BUENA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state cherry farmers expect their crop to continue to break harvest records in the coming years, prompting a re-thinking of harvesting techniques.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports (http://bit.ly/VXkOUP) that the Pacific Northwest cherry industry harvested more than 23 million boxes of cherries in 2012.

Washington State University horticulturalist Matt Whiting says cherry farmers can adopt techniques used by apple growers, such dwarfing trees or growing them in a way that creates a wall of fruit, making pruning and harvest easier.

Whiting says some of that increased efficiency likely will come in the form of mechanical harvesting, an advancement that could be a reality within the next few years. He says cherries are closest to being harvested mechanically because the harvesting method under review is less technical than what apples require.

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