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Mechanical Pre-Thinning of Cling Peaches. Merced County December 2008 Maxwell Norton, UCCE Farm Advisor Dan Rivers, Staff Research Associate. Kitren Glozer Department of Plant Sciences UC Davis. Janine Hasey UC Cooperative Extension Sutter/Yuba Counties.

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mechanical pre thinning of cling peaches

Mechanical Pre-Thinning of Cling Peaches

Merced County December 2008

Maxwell Norton, UCCE Farm Advisor

Dan Rivers, Staff Research Associate

mechanical thinning in cling peach 2005
Kitren Glozer

Department of Plant Sciences

UC Davis

Janine Hasey

UC Cooperative Extension Sutter/Yuba Counties

Mechanical Thinning in cling peach, 2005

Site 1: Side-mount shaker, computer-programmed for pattern, duration, rate (rpm)

Full bloom ~ March 8

First shake date = April 12; even fruit size

Moderate crop load

equipment adjustments tested
Equipment adjustments tested
  • Changed RPM (range 1000-1800 tested)
  • Changed patterns (straight shake, hook, modified hook)
  • Changed durations (½, ¾, 1, 1¼, 1½ sec)
  • Changed weight distribution
  • Changed pads (filled vs flat)
  • Trunk point of attachment (high vs low)

Fruit too big for shaking (biggest fruit came off)

Compare to biggest fruit size to mechanically thin prunes

Site 2: April 26 Fruit size variable

results shake operation
Results: Shake operation
  • Identify best kind of equipment for shaking: sidemount shaker, computer-equipped, various pad types, wide ability to make adjustments best
  • Identify best equipment settings
    • Site 1 = hook pattern, 1600 rpm, slightly less than 0.5 sec duration and ‘flat pads’
    • Site 2 = modified hook pattern, 1600 rpm, 0.75 sec
results shake operation1
Results: Shake operation
  • Identify tree structure differences (e.g. standard-pruned vs renewal wood-pruned)
    • For both orchards, crop load may have been more important than pruning, since both have hangers and hangers are hard to shake without removing too much fruit from tree top
  • Identify possible modifications to equipment
    • More weight used at Site 2 might have removed more fruit, so that touch-up hand-thinning would have been less necessary
    • Maybe a mechanical arm to clamp scaffold at upper canopy would reduce the amount of fruit shaken at top of tree
summary site 1 renewal wood pruned
Summary: Site 1, Renewal wood-pruned
  • May only need 1 shake
  • May not need hand-thin touchup
  • More fruit left on, clusters not all broken, spacing not equal
  • Significantly greater total and salable yield, despite greater undersized yield
  • Cost saving = difference between thinning costs less the undersized yield overage
summary site 2 standard pruned
Summary: Site 2, Standard-pruned
  • With heavy crop may need to shake earlier
  • May need 2 shakes
  • Fruit larger with mechanical thinning + hand thinning than hand-thinning alone
    • time of hand-thinning didn’t matter
    • Probably because mech thinning was very early, maximizing the growth curve
  • Total yields not different
  • No significant undersized
2007 merced co mechanical thinning trials
2007 Merced Co Mechanical Thinning Trials
  • 19,4-40 (EE)
  • Cordon-trained
  • Hanger-pruned
  • High-density
  • Pedestrian orchard
  • Hesse (EL)
  • Open-vase
  • Hanger-pruned
2007 procedure
2007 Procedure
  • Trunk shaker
  • Tried many different patterns, rpm and shake durations
  • “Outside wobble” or “loop” pattern worked best
  • “Sharp” or “star” pattern removed too much fruit
  • 1200 rpm for 2 sec on larger Hesse trees
  • Higher rpm removed too much fruit
  • 900 rpm for 2 sec on smaller 19,4-40s
2007 treatments
2007 Treatments
  • Machine thinned both on 4/26 about 45 days after full bloom
  • Hand-thinned rest 1 month later in late May
  • Also touched up machine thinned plots at that time
  • Hesse trees were hand-thinned a third time in early August
  • Trunk shaking not consistent
  • Pre-thinning with the machine may save time and lower the cost of hand thinning
  • Yields were similar at both sites
  • Payoff questionable – depends on block
  • Trunk shaking is problematic
  • Need to take different approaches
olive shaker on tuolumne 2008
“Olive Shaker” on Tuolumne 2008
  • Non-replicated, non randomized plot
  • Perpendicular “UC Kearney” V trees
  • Started with 2583 fruit per tree
  • We thinned 18 April
  • Took 1:45/tree Cost about .50/tree
  • Removed 1900 fruit or 2/3 of set
  • Hand thinned 1st wk May $1.50
  • Touched up mech thinned trees 24 June
  • for about .50
olive shaker on tuolumne
“Olive Shaker” on Tuolumne
  • Block averaged 24ton/acre
  • Yields between thinning systems the same
  • Sizes similar
  • Saved about .50/tree
  • Heavy sets favor mechanical
blossom thinning loadel 2008
Blossom Thinning Loadel 2008
  • Replicated & randomized plot
  • Traditional, tall vase shaped tree
  • Gloved hand, rubbed blossoms of the top of each hanger using a finger – used a ladder
  • 80% bloom – 14 March
  • Frost in April – grower only broke up clusters
  • Blossom thinning took 23 hours per acre costing about $272/ac using costs from UCCE cost study
blossom thinning loadel
Blossom Thinning Loadel
  • Blossom thinned trees yielded about 2 tons per acre more than hand thin but not significant statistically
  • Slight increase in size
  • Even though had frost damage, blossom thinning did not over-thin
  • Another growers tried blossom thinning this year but reported it was too expensive.
  • You will need to experiment.
thanks to
Thanks to:
  • Brewt Power Systems
  • Britton-Konynenburg Farms
  • Cling Peach Board
  • E & L Farming
  • Elias Cosio
  • Erick Nielsen Enterprises
  • Fiorini Ranch
  • Swanson Farms