Dan Wheat

Central Washington Reporter
Wheat, Dan

Okanogan fire hits ranchers hard

- Loss of grazing ground and hay stacks is hitting ranchers hard in the Okanogan fire. Firefighting continues in several areas.

PNW gets new refrigerated rail service

- An Atlanta, Ga., company is providing new refrigerated rail service from the Northwest to the Midwest and East Coast.

PNW gets new refrigerated rail service

- An Atlanta, Ga., company is providing new refrigerated rail service from the Northwest to the Midwest and East Coast.

Stemilt Basin drought grant approved

- A state grant will help with this year's drought and expansion of Kyle Mathison cherry orchards in Stemilt Basin.

Apple price recovery may take time, expert says

- Washington wholesale apple prices should rise this season due to a smaller U.S. crop, but they still may take time to rebuild.

Washington grower must pay $16,000 to DOL before he can sell his apples

- "Basically, they had me over a barrel,” a Mesa, Wash., grower said after DOL stopped his apples from being packed.

Grower pays $16,000 DOL fine to sell apples

- The U.S. Department of Labor has fined a Washington state apple grower after allegedly finding children working in the orchard.

Farmworker camp will likely remain open

- The state of Washington and Chelan County likely will sign an agreement soon keeping a seasonal, migrant farmworker camp open in the Wenatchee area.

McFerson hired to run WSU tree fruit center

- Jim McFerson will continue as manager of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission while becoming director of the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center.

Washington, California peach crops lighter

- Peaches, apricots, nectarines and other soft fruits are much bigger crops in California than in Washington. Crops are earlier and lighter this year in both states.

Wildfire claims apple packing plant

- Wildfires that quickly grew out of control around Chelan, Wash., on Aug. 14 destroyed a major apple packing plant, homes and businesses.

China’s currency devaluation worries ag exporters

- China's devaluation of its currency and its impact on other Asian countries has U.S. agricultural exporters worried. It makes U.S. exports more expensive overseas.

Cherry season started early, ends early

- Pacific Northwest sweet cherry growers just concluded their 2015 season that was great in June but collapsed in a glut after the Fourth of July.

Hop estimate up 5.5 million pounds

- The latest estimate of this year's U.S. hop crop is 7 percent greater than a month earlier because the crop is more mature. Demand still exceeds supply.

WSU tests unmanned helicopter to dry cherries

- Washington State University is testing an unmanned helicopter for blowing rainwater off cherries and for spray applications.

Exporters buying less hay this season

- Already squeezed by excess inventory due to last winter's port slowdown, West Coast hay exporters now face the devaluation of the Chinese yuan, which has dragged down other Asian currencies with it.

Apple foundation awards scholarships, grants

- The Washington Apple Education Foundation has awarded more than $850,000 to 225 students headed to colleges and vocational institutes this fall. It's also given grants for farmworker children schooling.

Price rebound predicted for Washington apples

- The Washington apple industry is hoping for better prices in the 2015-2016 sales season off a 2015 crop expected to be 10.5 percent less than last year's crop.

Kittitas hay losses in millions from drought

- Hay and tree fruit takes a hit in the Kittitas Valley due to drought. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation gives a bit more water.

Bill would allow governors to end port slowdowns

- A bill aimed at preventing massive disruptions of trade at U.S. ports, like the slow downs at West Coast ports last winter, has been introduced in the House. It's a companion to one introduced in the Senate two months ago.

Farmers get a look at new pesticide products

- More than 100 growers in Washington's upper Columbia Basin learned about new Syngenta fungicides and herbicides at a field day, Aug. 5.

Earlier drought planning needed, ag director says

- The state was caught "flat-footed" in drought planning this year and needs to do a better job next year, the director of the state Department of Agriculture says.

Sweet corn big business in Columbia Basin

- Washington typically is second only to Minnesota in processed sweet corn production. Harvest is underway 15 days earlier than normal this year because of a mild winter and warm spring.

Hop output to increase despite drought

- While some hop varieties suffer from heat and drought in Washington's Yakima Valley, the industry anticipates a larger crop because of increased acreage.

Serving replant disease a meal of mustard

- USDA researcher Mark Mazzola has found a solution to replant disease in apples that may work better than soil fumigation.

Apple, pear harvests off to early, but uncertain, start

- Heat, drought and not enough labor are all factors growers and packers are dealing with as Washington's apple and pear harvests get underway.

Identifying grapevine fungus may help fight disease

- A master's degree graduate at Washington State University has been instrumental in identifying more fungal species that cause grapevine trunk disease.

Washington agriculture weighs impacts of piece-rate court ruling

- Washington's tree fruit industry and other labor-intensive agriculture are grappling with a state Supreme Court ruling requiring piece-rate workers be paid separately for rest breaks. The industry fears civil litigation may...

Irrigation ends in some Yakima tributaries

- Water for some pre-statehood water right holders in two Yakima River tributaries is curtailed because of drought. Likely means no crop for some apple orchards.

Researchers hope to test robotic apple picker

- Testing of a robotic apple picker may occur this fall by Washington State University engineers and scientists. A successful system could alleviate labor shortages and save growers a lot in labor costs.

Roza Irrigation District growers get small water bump

- Growers in the Yakima Valley's Roza Irrigation District are getting a water bump in hot weather but are watching crops suffer from inadequate water and hot weather.

Yakima Basin reservoirs 78 percent of average

- Yakima Basin will make do this season and have some water left for next year unless another extended heat wave takes place.

Victims of Washington’s largest wildfire begin long road to recovery

- It's been one year since the Carlton Complex wildfire devastated much of Okanogan County.

Wenatchee Valley irrigation district reduces water

- The Peshastin Irrigation District, serving pear growers in part of Washington's Wenatchee Valley, is cutting water deliveries one-third because of low flows in Peshastin Creek.

Compressed crop squeezes cherry prices

- Cherries were early but it wasn't the best season as heat and oversupply caused prices to drop, a grower says.

Packers assess damage in massive Wenatchee wildfire

- Tree fruit packers in Wenatchee, Wash., continue to assess the extent of damages from the June 28 Sleepy Hollow Fire. Investigators seek the public's help in determining the cause.