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Ag Weather Impacts
by Dennis Hull, click here for bio

Program: Ag Weather Impact
Date: June 01, 2018

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If you’re a cherry lover like me, then June is a month you’ve been looking forward to in the Pacific Northwest. Yesterday, I spoke to Clive Kaiser, OSU Extension Horticulturalist based in Milton-Freewater about the cherries in the Walla Walla Valley. He said the Chelan cultivar is about ready to pick.

Clive:

The early cultivars will probably start harvesting in the next week and the later cultivars will probably three weeks from that.

I asked about any freeze damage from cold temperatures in late February and March and rain damage in late April or May.

Clive:

Luckily, the cherries came through. The fruit is fantastic. Looking to be a good crop out there. It’s especially been a pretty good year this year. They haven’t really had to deal with any major rainfall events.

Growers have several options to prevent cherries from absorbing the rain.

Clive:

There are prophylactic sprays they can spray on the fruit. They have wax coatings. They actually prevent the moisture by creating a supplemental cuticle on the fruit and that stops the moisture from cracking the fruit. Other things the farmers can do is that they can actually blow the water off. They bring in helicopters and use the downward motion of the wind from the helicopters. But it gets expensive. Certainly don’t irrigate before the rainfall event, because if you have saturated soils, that will result in more cracking.

These measures may not be needed much this June as NOAA’s Climate Prediction center is continuing to call for a drier than normal June across the Pacific NW. My thanks to Clive Kaiser for lending his expertise on Cherries in the Walla Walla valley.

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