- Anna Kempf, Director of Marketing at AEA
Advancing Eco Agriculture partnered with Omeg Orchards in The Dalles, Oregon to host a tour reviewing Oregon State University trials on several different cherry varieties on July 7, 2017.
Mike Omeg, orchard owner, and Lynn Long, OSU extension agent, showed images of how the Stinson block had looked at the beginning of the trials.
“The trees were really susceptible… really suffering from bacterial canker and they were going to take the block out,” said Lynn Long, Oregon State University extension agent.
The big takeaway from the trials in the Stinson block is the increase in yield and absence of bacterial canker.
“The yield on this block increased from 2 tons to 8 tons per acre,” Mike said.
He had intended to pull out the entire block because of bacterial canker three years ago. At this point there is no bacterial canker anywhere in the block.
Professor Lynn Long describing the trials on the Stinson block.
“We’ve gone through pruning this year and we don’t have any cankers that are actively gumming and oozing,” Mike said. “They’re all dried up.”
From the Stinson Block growers walked to the Sweetheart block, where Mike talked about how nitrogen management affects mildew on these trees, and how he’s been able to manage for mildew-free Sweethearts.
The group then moved on to the Millcreek block which consisted of trees that had been cut back where the regrowth was pretty dramatic, carrying a load of good-sized cherries. Mike talked about plant sap analysis as a management strategy, and how it allows him to dial into the plant and fine-tune the management of the trees.
Mike Omeg describing the use of plant sap analysis.
Growers expressed interest in the post-harvest management techniques Mike is using on his orchard. “Something that I really learned is that we need to intensively manage our blocks through the entire growing season, not just the fruit growing season, because once that fruit is picked, let’s say starting in August, once that crop’s off, you’re growing next year’s crop and so the nutrient balance in your trees impacts the size and quality of your cherries the next year."
"We’ve really seen that the more nutrients we push in the fall after harvest, the more of an impact we see on the yield and quality the following year,” Mike said.
From the Mill Creek block, the group headed back to the headquarters at the orchard, where everyone enjoyed a great barbecue lunch and more conversation about plant sap analysis and the nutritional programs Mike employs in his orchard blocks. Information on the plant sap analysis used at Omeg Orchards can be found here: Plant Sap Analysis.