Research Report: Project 2020: Optimizing Sweet Cherry Orchard Design & Efficiency

PROJECT LEADER: GREGORY A. LANG

Published on: April 7

Year 6 (2019) of a Seven-Year Duration Project (2014-2020):

This project tracks the NC140 Canopy Training Systems x Rootstocks research trial (planted in 2010; the multi-site trial coordination was completed in 2019) and the multi-trial Competitive Orchards Project 2020 research-extension demonstration orchards (planted in 2016 and 2017) that integrate the most productive and efficient sweet cherry canopy training systems with rootstocks that impart different vigor levels and variations in tree spacing to further modulate the vigor of tree canopy development. The 2010 trial was subdivided in 2012 to put 60% of the trees under an automated retractable roof covering structure (Cravo) and 40% of the trees under a passively- vented fixed row-by-row rain covering structure (Voen). As has usually been the case over the years, yields were generally higher across training systems and rootstocks for the portion of the trial that is covered by the automated Cravo protective roof, compared to the portion covered by Voen row covers (Fig. 1), perhaps due to poor (windy, cool) pollination conditions. Also as in most years past, not only were yields higher, but fruit size was greater as well in the Cravo. However, fruit soluble solids and firmness were slightly higher under the Voen covering system.

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