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Ag Weather Impacts-Pear Harvest in Hood River Valley
by Dennis Hull, click here for bio

Program: Ag Weather Impact
Date: August 17, 2018

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Last Friday, we talked about watermelons. Another juicy treat being picked this time of year is pears. Yesterday, I talked with Dr. Ashley Thompson, OSU horticulturalist for the Columbia Gorge region. She says it pear harvest time for the yellow Bartlett variety in the Hood River Valley.

Dr. Thompson: The pear harvest has been going on now for about 3 weeks. It started the first part of August.

Dr. Thompson uses orchard weather stations and growing degree day heat units for a 63 day period from bloom to predict when pears will be ready for harvest.

Dr. Thompson: I predict the Anjou harvest will begin around August 28th. These are just predictions and so they may be off by a few days in either direction. We rely on field reps to go out and test the pressure of the pears to make sure they’re actually ready for harvest.

The combination of rain and mild temperatures during bloom caused fire blight problems. And just as fire blight was a big concern for apple growers in Washington, pear growers had to work extra hard to save their trees, as well.

Dr. Thompson: This was a particularly terrible year for fire blight. I’ve seen a lot of fire blight in both pears and apples in the Hood River Valley area. I’ve had a lot of reports of fire blight actually from throughout Oregon.

This year’s crop of Bartlett pears is being picked and sold now and the Anjous won’t be far behind.

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