Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Orchards fight Little Cherry Disease

- Kyle Mathison Orchards is just one of several orchards fighting Little Cherry Disease around Wenatchee, Wash. Tree removal and replanting is the main means of combat.

H-2A visa processing halted for pickers

- The U.S. State Department has quit producing visas for pickers to come to Washington state from Mexico on the eve of the start of harvest of an anticipated record apple crop.

Fourth cherry chopper crash in four years

- Fatal helicopter crash is fourth in four years drying cherries in Central Washington orchards.

Fire claims hundreds of homes, cattle

- The largest wildfire in Washington history is mostly contained but losses are still being tallied and the number of dead cattle alone is estimated at 700 to 1,000.

‘Gut-wrenching’ losses in wildfire

- Fires in Washington's Okanogan County have burned thousands of acres of rangeland, killed livestock, left ranches and orchards without power for irrigation and destroyed homes.

Washington fires burn rangeland, singe orchards

- Fires in Washington's Okanogan County have destroyed thousands of acres of rangeland, left ranches and orchards without power and killed livestock.

Houses, orchards damaged by Washington state fires

- The Carlton Complex Fire in Washington's Okanogan County spread rapidly July 17, destroying homes, damaging orchards and causing hundreds of people to flee as it reached the towns of Pateros and Brewster on the Columbia Riv...

DeVaney heads new tree fruit association

- The executive director of the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association has been chosen to head a new Washington State Tree Fruit Association in September that will replace the Growers-Shippers association and three others.

Wildfires burn north Central Washington

- Seven wildfires are keeping firefighters busy in north Central Washington and causing the evacuation of 860 homes in the vicinity of Leavenworth and Plain.

Group urges support for besieged berry farm

- Supporters of a large Skagit County, Wash., berry farm say it has been unfairly targeted by union activists and that other farms should come to its aid.

Coalition calls for immigration reform

- Business and agricultural organizations urged Congress to act now on immigration reform during press events in Washington, D.C., and around the nation.

Mills Canyon Fire held in check

- The Mills Canyon Fire between Wenatchee and Entiat, Wash., has slowed but could grow again, depending on weather. Lightning caused numerous other small start ups in Oregon and Washington.

Washington fire closes state highway

- The Mills Canyon Fire near Entiat, Wash., has grown to 6,171 acres, closed a state highway and caused the evacuation of 109 homes, but officials are optimistic it won't expand greatly.

Wildfire spreads north of Wenatchee

- A wildfire started from a house fire shortly after noon July 8 about 20 miles north of Wenatchee, Wash., and rapidly spread to 5,000 acres.

Compost company to accept Seattle waste

- A Quincy manure composting farm sees Seattle yard and food waste as an opportunity to return nutrients to farm land and grow its business.

Spotted wing drosophila pressure eases

- An Asian fruit fly, spotted wing drosophila, is down in number so far this season in Central Washington which probably indicates a lighter year.

Apple commission boosts export efforts

- The Washington apple industry is planning to spend more on export promotions given expectations for a huge fall crop. It hopes China accepts Red and Golden Delicious again.

PNW cherries hit record June shipments

- Cherry growers in the Northwest have logged the best June in years as weather has cooperated in producing a large, good-quality crop.

Large U.S. apple crop looming

- Early estimates of the apple crop in apple producing states indicate it will be a large one which may pressure harvest, sales and prices.

Kit tests available for Little Cherry Disease

- Little Cherry Disease may be increasing or just being noticed more in north Central Washington, experts say. A new test kit can help growers know if their trees have the virus.

Stemilt Hill irrigation water iffy at times

- Water for thousands of acres of orchards south of Wenatchee remains tentative at times as irrigators await the right window for a fix.

California eyes lighter pear crop

- California will begin picking a lighter pear crop July 7 and it promoting its Bartlett as the first harvested in the nation each year.

WSDA hunts for wine grape pests

- The Washington Department of Agriculture is on the hunt for several species of moths and a couple other pests that could wreak havoc with the state's wine industry.

Chelan Fresh tests new apples

- A major Washington apple marketer, Chelan Fresh Marketing, is testing a small apple from New Zealand sold in convenient snack-portioned tubes and another variety that's an offspring of Honeycrisp.

Northwest hop acreage keeps climbing

- Long-term supply of hops for large brewers may be questionable as varietal production for small breweries keeps growing.

Pear grower adds wine grapes

- The largest pear packer in Medford, Ore., is venturing into wine grapes. Naumes, Inc., plans to ramp up to 200 acres of vineyard within five years.

Tree fruit groups approve merger

- Four tree fruit associations in Washington have voted to consolidate for one voice and to end duplication of some services. They are timing it to coincide with the Sept. 1 start of the 2014 apple crop.

California goes shopping for hay

- Hay producers throughout the West are benefitting from California's drought and lower production. Demand is good, prices are strong and the weather, so far, has been cooperative.

State cancels ag labor shortage estimates

- The state of Washington has canceled the only monthly measurement of seasonal agricultural labor shortages right when tree fruit growers are concerned about having enough pickers for large cherry and apple crops.

Rain flirts with Northwest cherry harvest

- Rains paid a Father's Day weekend visit to Washington cherries, but it may be cool and breezy enough for damage to be minimal.

Experts bullish on future of beef industry

- Growing exports, more beef sold under brand names and improved genetics all make beef experts optimistic about the industry's future.

Wash. developer settles shoreline dispute

- A Cashmere, Wash., developer and former mayor and his contractor have dropped an appeal and agreed to restore a creek bed and pay fines.

Good start for Washington cherry harvest

- Washington is off to great start harvesting a large cherry crop while California concludes a light, rough season.

Washington industry bullish on future

- Members of Washington's dairy industry are optimistic about the future and foresee greater diversity of income from the nutrient and energy potential in manure.

Washington water forecast good, with few exceptions

- Washington's last streamflow forecast for the season is good but several counties with dryland areas have been declared federal drought disasters.

Gebbers Cattle starts local beef sales

- Gebbers Farms is a major apple and cherry producer in North Central Washingon. Now affiliated Gebbers Cattle is selling beef locally throughout the region.

New Clore center touts Washington wines

- The Washington wine industry officially opens long-awaited center promoting wines, food, agriculture.

Industry runs risk of too many apples

- Washington is entering an era of huge apple crops not thought possible a decade ago. Can it be sustained?

New program may benefit Yakima Basin

- Members of an effort to increase water in the Yakima River Basin are hopeful a new USDA conservation program will mean more money for Yakima projects.