Specialty Crop Automation Field Day Set

Producers will hear latest research on specialty crop automation tomorrow.

Published on: Sep 22, 2011

Washington State University researchers and collaborators are hosting a field day to present advances in automation for specialty crop production. The event is set for Sept. 23 at 4 p.m. at the WSU Sunrise Research Orchard near Rock Island, Wash.

Presentation will include the following:

Autonomous orchard platform, which offers a safer, faster alternative to traditional ladders.

Digital insect traps, which collect data in real time, saving growers the need to manually inspect them.

Harvest assist, an apple harvest machine that is up to 25% faster with no increase in bruising harvested crops.,

Caliper/counter, a vehicle-mounted device that counts and measures fruit size.

The field day showcases research conducted in conjunction with the USDA Specialty Crops Research Initiative and if funded by the Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops grant.  The entire amount of the grant has been matched  with funds from participating universities and industry collaborators.

CASC is a multi-disciplinary project, engaging experts in engineering, the sciences, extension, manufacturing and agriculture.  It is also multi-institutional, involving universities, government labs and private companies. The project involves collaborators in California, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington, representing 74% of U.S. tree fruit production.

The CASC effort is a flagship project dedicated to developing comprehensive automation strategies and technologies for the $18 billion U.S. deciduous tree fruit industry, and the $17 billion U.S. nursery and landscape industry.

Directions to the orchard follow:

Located between Wenatchee and Quincy on Highway 28.

From Wenatchee, travel on WA-28 east for 13 miles and turn left on Sunrise Lane.

From Quincy, travel on WA-28 about 16 miles and turn right onto Sunrise Lane.