Time and cost are two of the factors that apple producers must consider in this day and age. Jim Bair of the U.S. Apple Association said on average it takes four years for a new apple orchard to produce market ready fruit.
“It’s very expensive. It costs about $50,000 to put in an acre of apple orchard, and that’s not including trellis work, and irrigation, and tractors, and everything else. That’s just the cost of the trees themselves so you’re servicing the debt for for four years waiting to get something that you can harvest and sell.”
Labor cost challenges continue to be addressed through decades of research in to viable mechanical apple harvesters. However as Bair noted,
“They’re getting close and probably whoever gets there first is gonna have the goose that laid the golden egg because it’s hard to find Ag labor. So mechanical harvesters are becoming and we absolutely need it. When it happens it’s gonna be a huge leap forward in our efficiency, and being able to reduce our costs, and be more efficient about doing what we do.”
If you have a story idea for the Washington Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail [email protected]