Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

U.S., China open doors to apple trade

- The U.S. apple industry has gained what it's wanted for 20 years, full varietal access into China. And China also gets into the U.S. with its apples, something it's wanted for 17 years.

Rootstocks, drip irrigation keys to fighting apple replant disease

- A new series of rootstocks and drip irrigation systems are top tools growers use in fighting orchard replant disease.

SE Asia worried about too many apples

- Southeast Asia retailers are worried about having too many apples once the U.S. West Coast longshoremen's work slow down ends, says a Washington apple industry rep just back from the region.

Sliced pears hit markets

- With domestic pear consumption rising, The Pear Bureau Northwest is keeing an eye on the beginning snack sales of fresh-slice pears.

PNW pears selling strong as demand rises

- A smaller crop and strong domestic sales are helping the PNW pear industry weather the longshoremen's work slow down and the Russian embargo.

High-tech cherry lines to keep growing

- The vice president of a leading manufacturer of high-tech cherry packing systems says rapid growth of the systems will continue.

Mexican trucks granted permanent entry

- The Obama administration has granted Mexican trucks permanent entry to the U.S. to haul goods both ways, ending a 20-year dispute and the prospect of a resumption of tariffs.

PNW cherry growers expect smaller crop

- The 2015 Pacific Northwest cherry crop may be slightly smaller because of mid-November freeze damage to cherry trees in Oregon.

Doornink named cherry king

- A long-time cherry grower and chairman of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission was chosen Pacific Northwest cherry king for 2015.

Hastings sees hope for ESA, energy bills

- Newly retired after 20 years in Congress, former House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., thinks Endangered Species Act reform and energy development bills will pass the new Senate.

Hay exporters warn of ‘stale’ market

- Washington hay exporters warn growers they probably won't be buying as much hay this year because the longshoremen slowdown will leave them with too much carryover from 2014.

Honeycrisp apple prices improve

- Washington Honeycrisp apple prices increase due to Honeycrisp inventory selling out in other states, but Washington apple prices in general remain poor.

Apple sales up to Mexico, Canada

- A West Coast longshoremen's work slowdown has hurt Washington apple exports overseas but not to Mexico and Canada, where numbers are up.

Low snowpack a worry in Washington

- Snowpack in Washington's Cascades and other mountains is low and not much snow is in an extended weather forecast, raising worries of a summer drought for farm irrigators.

Use of H-2A workers to increase despite wage hike

- Large increases in the minimum wage for agricultural foreign guestworkers are not expected to slow their usage much in the West or Southeast.

Prospects for immigration reform uncertain

- The next few months could be key on the immigration issue in Washington, D.C., farm labor leaders say. They have mixed opinions on whether Congress and the president will reach a deal.

Associations seek help in piece rate lawsuit

- Labor and tree fruit associatons are seeking contributions to help defend the practice of worker rest breaks being paid within piece-rate wages.

Push for national chicken cage standards stalls

- California's 2008 Prop 2 mandating more space for egg-laying hens is going into effect but federal hen welfare legislation seems dead.

NW Horticultural Council hires new staff

- A national and international issues group for the Pacific Northwest tree fruit industry has hired a former congressional aide and a staffer with China experience as it eyes the future.

Golden Delicious yanked before harvest

- Orchard replanting for newer varieties and high yields has increased in recent years. Time will tell if that trend continues or slows given Central Washington's large apple crop last fall.

Growers assess freeze damage

- Vineyards, fruit trees and high-elevation winter wheat on the east sides of Oregon and Washington were damaged by a mid-November freeze. The full extent won't be known until spring.

Trade with China holds great potential, great risk

- U.S. agricultural exports to China have grown exponentially since 2001. Producers of many U.S. agricultural commodities view China as the market of the future because of its huge and growing middle class. But it may not be ...

DNR denies Carlton fire claims

- The state of Washington is denying claims for the loss of homes and property in the Carlton Complex Fire. An attorney who filed the claims on behalf of more than 150 people is preparing a lawsuit.

Hop growers adjust to meet demand of craft brewers

- U.S. hop production, centered in Washington's Yakima Valley, slowed in 2014 but likely will keep growing as demand remains strong from craft breweries.

Cuba is potential market for PNW fruit

- Cuba's economy and middle class need to grow for it to buy Pacific Northest tree fruit, industry leaders say.

A lot goes into quest for fruit quality

- From fruit tree breeding to design of tree structure and chemical blossom thinning for desired crop load, a lot happens in the growing of tree fruit that consumers may rarely think about.

Proposed water testing rules worry fruit growers

- Tree fruit officials are concerned federal food safety rules will be a burden to orchard irrigation and one industry leader says the regs could become as onerous as the Endangered Species Act.

Apple commission mulls tough year

- It's a tough year for Washington apples. The Washington Apple Commission is working to build export demand. Oversupply could end up as livestock feed.

Apple trade groups eye getting closer

- They redefined their roles last March and now two Washington apple industry trade organizations are looking at greater cooperation.

Apple industry interested in changing labor law

- Absorbing tens of millions of dollars in losses weekly from a West Coast longshoremen's work slow down, the Washington apple industry is interested in curbing union power.

Full U.S.-China apple access ‘highly likely’

- It looks likely apples will flow both ways between the U.S. and China in a couple of months, industry officials say.

Longshore agreement may be near, port officials say

- Tacoma and Seattle port officials told Washington Apple Commission members on Dec. 11 that an agreement may be reached before a Dec. 15 longshore union meeting.

Mexican growers allege Washington apple dumping

- Washington apple growers are responding to allegations made by Mexican apple growers that they are sending apples to Mexico at below-market prices.

PNW cherry growers sell record crop

- Cherry growers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah are invited to the 72nd annual Cherry Institute in Yakima, Wash., Jan. 16. They will discuss the record 2014 crop and ways to sell more cherries.

Many uses seen for portable wind machine

- A portable wind machine from New Zealand is finding many uses from crop frost protection to cooling and keeping flies off cattle.