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W.B. Evans, V. Cerven, N. Winter and C.E. Coker

This report presents preliminary data and arguments supporting the investigation and possible adoption of a low-cost method of cherry and grape tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) production. Cherry and grape tomato crops are currently grown using indeterminate or relatively large determinate plants requiring trellising and significant hand labor at harvest. In contrast, processing tomato crops are usually determinate cultivars raised without supporting systems, and they are harvested mechanically. In Summer 2009, a Mississippi trial of home garden tomato cultivars included a compact, mounding yellow-fruited cherry tomato that produced more than 2 kg of fruit per plant in the first harvest. The architecture of the plant, high yield potential, and concentrated set indicate that there is potential to grow commercial cherry and grape tomato crops in much the same way commercial processing tomatoes are grown: unsupported on bare or mulched beds, with once-over harvest. Such a system could reduce the monetary and labor costs of production of cherry and grape tomatoes. Seed companies, tomato growers, and supporting agencies should work together to further investigate the potential of this system of cherry and grape tomato production.

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James R. Cooksey, James E. Motes and Brian A. Kahn

Ethephon has increased yields of red fruit, but its use as a pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) fruit ripening agent has been limited by premature fruit abscission and defoliation. We tested ethephon solutions of 0,1500,3000,4500, and 6000 μl·liter-1 with or without 0.1 m Ca(OH)2 as a onetime foliar application to field-grown paprika pepper in southwestern Oklahoma. There was a linear increase in fruit abscission with increasing ethephon rates in 2 of 3 years, with or without added Ca. Marketable fruit as a percentage of total harvested fruit weight was improved by ethephon at 6000 μl·liter-1 in 2 of 3 years, primarily due to a decrease in weight of harvested green fruit. However, ethephon never significantly increased the dry weight of harvested marketable fruit over that obtained from the control. There also was no effect of ethephon on the intensity of red pigment extracted from dehydrated marketable fruit. The only consistently significant effect of Ca(OH)2 was an undesirable increase in the retention of green fruit on the plants. Ethephon had little value as a fruit-ripening agent for paprika pepper under the conditions of our studies, and Ca(OH)2 was not useful as an additive to ethephon sprays. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphoric acid (ethephon).

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Anish Malladi, Tripti Vashisth and Scott NeSmith

, especially when fruit are hand-picked. Mechanical harvesting can greatly reduce the costs associated with harvesting. Owing to the growing interest in the use of mechanical harvesting in blueberry, especially for fruit intended for the fresh market, there are

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Steven A. Sargent, Adrian D. Berry, Jeffrey G. Williamson and James W. Olmstead

Rabbiteye blueberries ( Vaccinium virgatum ) are more resistant to mechanical harvesting and have been MH for fresh market for many years. Mainland et al. (1975) studied the quality of HH highbush blueberry ( Vaccinium corymbosum ) cultivars

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James W. Olmstead, Hilda Patricia Rodríguez Armenta and Paul M. Lyrene

such as ethephon and methyl jasmonate have been tested with varying results to reduce fruit detachment force as an aid for mechanical harvest ( Malladi et al., 2012 ). An abscission zone between the fruit and pedicel resulting in a small, dry stem scar

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U. Hartmond, J.D. Whitney, J.K. Burns and W.J. Kender

Two field studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of metsulfuron-methyl and 5-chloro-3-methyl-4-nitro-1H-pyrazole (CMN-pyrazole) on abscission of `Valencia' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] during the 3-month harvest season. Solutions of metsulfuron-methyl at 0.5, 1, and 2 mg·L-1 active ingredient (a.i.) were applied at 10-day intervals beginning on 13 Feb. and ending 18 May 1998. Early in the harvest season, 1 or 2 mg·L-1 metsulfuron-methyl significantly reduced fruit detachment force (FDF) 14 days after application. Metsulfuron-methyl was less effective during a 4- to 6-week period following bloom (“less-responsive period”). After this period, metsulfuron-methyl regained the ability to loosen fruit. Applications of 2 mg·L-1 a.i. were more effective than 1 mg·L-1 in reducing FDF and causing leaf drop, but 0.5 mg·L-1 a.i. had little or no effect on FDF. Flowers and leaflets on developing shoots and young fruit completely abscised with 1 and 2 mg·L-1 a.i. Defoliation and twig dieback was extensive at all concentrations and spray dates, eliminating metsulfuron-methyl as a commercially viable abscission agent for citrus. In a separate experiment CMN-pyrazole at 50 and 100 mg·L-1 a.i. and metsulfuronmethyl at 0.5 mg·L-1 a.i. were applied to `Valencia' trees to determine fruit removal with a trunk shake and catch harvesting system. Application of both abscission materials before and after the “less-responsive period” resulted in a 10% to 12% increase in fruit removal when compared to control trees. Less than a 35% reduction in FDF was sufficient to significantly increase fruit removal. Only 100 mg·L-1 a.i. CMN-pyrazole significantly increased fruit removal when applied during the “less-responsive period.” Chemical names used: Methyl-2-(((((4-Methoxy-6-Methyl-1,3,5-Triazin-2-yl)-Amino)Carbonyl) Amino)Sulfonyl)Benzene (Metsulfuron-methyl); 5-Chloro-3-methyl-4-nitro-1-H-pyrazole (CMN-pyrazole).

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Tripti Vashisth and Anish Malladi

detachment are not well understood. Enhancing our knowledge of the process of fruit detachment can greatly aid in developing methods to increase the efficiency of mechanical harvesting, which can in turn reduce the costs associated with blueberry production

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Bruce D. Lampinen, Vasu Udompetaikul, Gregory T. Browne, Samuel G. Metcalf, William L. Stewart, Loreto Contador, Claudia Negrón and Shrini K. Upadhyaya

). However, the area covered by the hand light bar is small. Since both almonds and walnuts are mechanically harvested, it is difficult to cover large enough areas with the hand light bar to coincide with areas harvested. Therefore, the areas covered with the

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Mark K. Ehlenfeldt and James J. Polashock

, primarily attributable to its long pedicels. This trait may be of considerable value for mechanical harvesting if it can be incorporated into commercial blueberries. Fruit is medium blue and ovate. A main difference between V. cylindraceum and V

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Catarina Saude, Mary Ruth McDonald and Sean Westerveld

). Losses are associated with reduction of the leaf photosynthetic area and weakening of the petioles induced by the leaf blight pathogens. Infected and weakened petioles often break during mechanical harvest, leaving the root in the ground ( Langenberg