Starting off 2021 with the VIRTUAL Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention. Our VP (Blake Slaybaugh) was a part of a Lunch/Learn Tree Fruit seminar, hosted with a large grower panel discussing Color Enhancing Technologies for Apples: Reflective Fabrics and Defoliators. Below you will see Blake's interview with Daniel Weber from Penn State Extension.
Blake explains why leaf removal is the direction Mt. Ridge Farms is heading. He goes on to say leaf removal is showing promising results by improving coloring of the fruit. This new technology helps the farm keep up with the consumer demand of "Perfect" fruit. Mt. Ridge is looking for technologies that reduce labor cost and are less labor intensive.
Describing the Mechanics
The interview goes on in which Blake explains the function of the piece of equipment along with its hardware. The video gives great visual of the equipment in use. Blake continues, in the video, reviewing additional features of the Olmi Defoliator and how the equipment can be tailored to your farm's needs.
Operating the Olmi
Ease of use was something Blake was excited to see. "Getting one of our employees to learn how to use it, wasn't as hard as I was expecting" - Blake. Explaining in the video that operating the Olmi is similar to using a hedger. Most difficult part was setting up the settling on the machine itself for all the different varieties.
Your Future Plans?
Mt. Ridge is looking to utilize the Olmi across all different type of apple varieties. Blake mentions that he wants to get a better understanding of when the optimal time to defoliate is for different varieties.