Submitted to: New York State Fruit Quarterly
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2008
Publication Date: September 25, 2008
Citation: Glenn, D.M. 2008. So what have you done for me today. New York State Fruit Quarterly. 16(3):1-2 Technical Abstract: When AFRS started its work in 1979, we looked to the future problems of the industry and asked, "What are the 'inevitable' problems to be addressed?" In 1979, labor was not a critical issue, but AFRS worked to develop technology that would be on the shelf when the time came for its need. Today, that technology is coming off the shelf in the form of a sweet cherry, citrus, and blueberry harvesting machinery, harvest aide platforms, mechanical thinning machines, and bin filling technology. Furthermore, the plant architecture and training systems to marry the machine with the tree were needed to accommodate mechanization. Today, peach cultivars have been released with upright ('Sweet-N-UP') and pillar ('Crimson Rocket') architectures that have a narrow and exposed fruit bearing surface that facilitate mechanical thinning and harvesting, as well as, ease of hand thinning and harvesting. In 1979, Plum pox or Sharka virus (PPV) was not present in North America. It was a European problem. AFRS scientists led an international team to develop genetic resistant plum germplasm in anticipation of this devastating disease, resulting in a plum pox resistant plum cultivar ('HoneySweet') developed through genetic engineering. AFRS scientists teamed with the University of Maryland to develop MaryBlyt, a key tool in managing fire blight throughout the U.S. and the world. AFRS developed the first bio-fungicides (Aspire, Bio-coat, Biocure and BioSave) for the commercial horticultural market, and later, generations of this technology are now commercially available throughout the world. Non-toxic insect repellants based on kaolin clay were developed (Surround WP) and are now used world-wide in both organic and traditional sustainable horticultural productions systems.