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  • Author or Editor: Timothy L. Righetti x
  • HortTechnology x
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Agriculture is changing. State-of-the-art computer systems that use GPS (global positioning systems) data, GIS (geographic information systems) software, remotely sensed images, automated sampling, and information analysis systems are transforming growers' ability to produce their crops. Currently, the farm service and agricultural sales industry, rather than the grower direct most information technology applications. Precision agriculture must become an information-driven and grower-driven process. Data evaluation has to be made simpler, less time consuming, and inexpensive. The purpose of this paper is to outline potential strategies and demonstrate how information can be processed and evaluated with readily available and inexpensive analytical tools.

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Management of pear (Pyrus communis L.) trees for low N and high Ca content in the fruit reduced the severity of postharvest fungal decay. Application of N fertilizer 3 weeks before harvest supplied N for tree reserves and for flowers the following spring without increasing fruit N. Calcium chloride sprays during the growing season increased fruit Ca content. Nitrogen and Ca management appear to be additive factors in decay reduction. Fruit density and position in the tree canopy influenced their response to N fertilization. Nitrogen: Ca ratios were lower in fruit from the east quadrant and bottom third of trees and from the distal portion of branches. High fruit density was associated with low N: Ca ratios. Nutritional manipulations appear to be compatible with other methods of postharvest decay control.

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Over-tree sprinkler irrigation cooling treatments were applied to `Sensation Red Bartlett' pear trees during the final 30 days of fruit maturity in 1992 and 1993 when orchard air temperatures were >29 °C. Fruit from cooled trees were more red and less yellow than fruit from noncooled trees, resulting in lower hue values by the middle of the harvestable maturity period in both years of study. In 1992, cooled fruit had a greater portion of the fruit surface covered with red blush than fruit that were not cooled. Fruit firmness decreased more rapidly in fruit from cooled trees than in fruit from noncooled trees, indicating advanced maturity. Accordingly, cooled fruit should be harvested earlier than noncooled fruit to maintain postharvest quality. Differences between cooled and noncooled fruit with respect to hue, surface blush, and rate of firmness loss were more pronounced in a warm season requiring frequent cooling than in a cooler season.

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