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Specialty Crop Automation Field Day at WSU Sunrise Orchard Sept. 23

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

Presentations scheduled for the field day include:

  • Autonomous orchard platform, which offers a safer and faster alternative to traditional ladders;
  • Digital insect trap, collects data in real-time, saving growers the need to manually inspect;
  • Harvest assist, an apple harvest machine that is up to 25 percent faster with no increase in bruising;
  • Caliper/counter, a vehicle-mounted device that counts and measures fruit size.

The field day showcases research being conducted with the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative and is funded by the Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops (CASC) grant. One hundred percent of the grant has been matched with funds from participating universities and industry partners. CASC 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.

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 collaborations in California, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington, representing 74 percent of U.S. tree fruit production.

Directions to the WSU Sunrise Research Orchard:

  • Sunrise Research Orchard is located between Wenatchee and Quincy on Highway 28.
  • From Wenatchee: travel on WA-28 East about 13 miles and turn left on Sunrise Ln. (Note: use caution as turning left onto Sunrise Ln. crosses highway traffic. Consider turning right, making a U-turn, then crossing the road when traffic is clear.)
  • From Quincy: travel on WA-28 West about 16 miles and turn right on Sunrise Ln.

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