"Another exciting replacement," Myers says, "could be the Cosmic Crisp, developed by Washington State University." Research programs at land-grant universities like WSU do the breeding and testing, then license the seeds to private growers. Royalties fund future research programs, as well as student and academic amenities.Read More
Returning recently from the Forbes AgTech Summit, the workshops made me think about innovations and how those developments will shape the future of the produce industry. Automation in the field, new hybrid electric technology for trucks, the Internet of things and more are coming our way.
In that vein, I wanted to check in with members of the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group about their thoughts concerning the “biggest need” for the industry going forward.
What is the biggest need for the agriculture industry in the next ten years? What invention/innovation is necessary for the industry to thrive in the years ahead?
Alan: Being smarter marketers. In the apple industry, instead of just throwing new varieties onto the market, following the model established by Cosmic Crisp looks like a good choice. This involves the industry working together, consumer research, and assistance from Washington State University.
Phil: Green housing and organic
Gary: Food safety professionals
Joe: Alternative labor technologies, mechanization
Mulugheta: I think there is a need to shift from the conventional systems towards agroecological organic systems , low input or environmental friendly production and management or handling systems based on principles and practices would be a better option. Anything invested on this field would be attractive for industries in the next couple of years
Gregory: I suspect that advancements in renewable energy, battery technology and drone tech will play a big role in organic farming in terms of drone imaging for detecting plant stress, micro-drones for pest control and pollination and pruning/harvesting drones. I’m not certain how much disruption will occur in the next ten years, that will be determined by people far more tech savvy then I.
In terms of indoor growing, I would think that some of the “ROBOFARMS” being built in Japan by “Spread”are going to become more common as well.
Eric: Extending harvested product shelf life , through new packaging innovation
Ray: I believe that for producers located in the state of California; especially smaller operations, it will be trying to figure out how to stay in business. The minimum wage hike that will lead to $15.00 per hour in 2022 is just now showing impact with just $.50 per hour increase this year and last. Will FOB’s rise 40% over the next four or five years without a dramatic decrease in supply? Maybe, but when in history has that ever happened? Will this lead to innovation in harvest, and distribution? No doubt, but at what cost? This minimum wage increase is the biggest story in the U.S. produce industry no one is talking about. Amazing, because it will impact every consumer in the nation.
Karen: Immigration reform, so that we can get the produce harvested
Rob: We need more prove about the health benefit of vegetables. We need it structured and we need to have real official claims.
World consumption per person has never been so low and the chronic diseases have never been so high. Vegetables should be recommended over pills. We run in the Netherlands a project called Reverse Diabetes2. Many patients can stop using their medication when they switch their food pattern to mainly.......... vegetables!
So it is not the storage, the labor or the growing technique, it is about creating legitimate demand.
TK: Kudos to the many who commented and please add your thoughts and “likes” to comments already posted. My first instinct is to look at farm mechanization-automation/labor as the industry’s biggest need, but Rob’s comment about building demand is a point that cannot be overlooked.
Article by Tom Karst, The Packer
Jeannie Yandel speaks with NPR food reporter Dan Charles about a new apple variety coming to Washington state known as the Cosmic Crisp. Washington grows 70 percent of the apples in the United States, and Red Delicious is the largest single variety grown in the state.
But Americans don't really buy Red Delicious apples anymore. Only half of the 2016 crop has been sold. And the majority of those have gone overseas. Most American shoppers like other varieties – the Honeycrisp, the Gala, the Pink Lady. So apple growers are changing things up. They're hoping Cosmic Crisp will be a big hit among apple lovers.
Article & Interview by Jeannie Yandel and Matt Martin
Washington State University President Kirk Schulz packed an auditorium Wednesday at his first State of the University address. He highlighted the university's accomplishments since his presidency began last June.
Another big point Schulz focused on was the Drive to 25. This campaign aims to make WSU one of the top 25 in the nation for research by 2030.
Some notable research already taking place includes the creation of the Cosmic Crisp apple, which is part of a WSU program Schulz described as having fruition (pun intended). He said about 3 million Cosmic Crisp apple trees will be planted and available to consumers by 2020.
Schulz added that the advantage of a land grant university like WSU is its strength in agriculture.
“It shows what can happen when you have a long term research program working with local industry,” he said.
Article by Angela Nhi Nguyen, NW News Network
Proprietary Variety Management (PVM) president Lynnell Brandt says limitations on certified budwood are the reason Cosmic Crisp apples haven’t been planted too extensively to date, but virtually all of Washington State’s leading growers are on board with the cultivar with aggressive expansion in the pipeline.
The state has been granted exclusivity for the variety’s commercialization in North America for at least 10 years.
As a cross between Honeycrisp and Enterprise apples, Brandt describes the Cosmic Crisp as having some acid but it’s more on the sweeter side of the spectrum, with “incredible” shelf life and storage.
“Next year will be the first planting and there will be 629,000 trees planted,” the industry veteran told www.freshfruitportal.com during apple industry event Interpoma in Bolzano, Italy late last month.
He says there are now 5.2 million trees on the books to be planted in 2018, followed by well in excess of three million in 2019.
“We know that’s going to climb, because that’s not a normal situation to be ordering that far out but we know there’s a lot of interest and intent.
“There’s a realization within the Washington State industry that the older standby varieties are not returning much to the grower – it’s the new proprietary varieties that are returning the most, so there’s a need then to replant the Golden Delicious, the older Fujis, and especially Red Delicious.
“Washington State University has come out with this apple that seems to be a ‘WOW’ apple – it’ll keep 52 weeks out of the year, it has a good profile, has won over a lot of consumers in testing, and so forth.”
Brandt forecasts the industry to reach 10 to12 million boxes of Cosmic Crisp apples within the next six to seven, before volumes climb from there at a “very high rate”.
While it is likely more of the Cosmic Crisp plantings will be to replace older varieties, Brandt emphasizes the importance of new plantings as well.
“All of the new plantings with the new techniques and the new spacing and so forth are having a much higher production per acre than the older plantings, so volumes will go up.”
He says the apple’s potential is so large that major players can’t afford to not get involved with Cosmic Crisp, and therefore “all of them” are on the books.
“I’m not being facetious with that – once you get something started like that then none of them as marketing agencies can be left out. They have to be able to have the product to be able to compete, so they’re all getting involved,” he says.
Brandt adds PVM has a contractual relationship for the variety with Italian cooperatives Vog and VI.P for the Cosmic Crisp apple in Europe, but the plant materials are still in the process of going through quarantine.
Article by Fresh Fruit Portal
On day two of the 2016 Washington State Tree Fruit Association Annual Meeting & Horticulture Expo, KOHO’s Chris Hansen had a chance to catch up with the scientist who is largely responsible for the genesis of the new apple variety Cosmic Crisp. Kate Evans is a Professor of Horticulture at the Washington State University Extension Center in Wenatchee. Professor Evans said although much of the legwork to bring the Cosmic Crisp to market has been finished, there are literally still a few roots to put down before consumers will find it widely available on store produce displays.
Interview by Chris Hansen, KOHO 101
Click the button below to listen to the KOHO 101 interview with Kate Evans, Professor of Horticulture at WSU Extensions Center in Wenatchee, WA.