Drought and heat had an impact on the 2023 Iowa apple crop.
The Intelligent Sprayer is the creation of a team of USDA-ARS engineers at Wooster, Ohio, led by Dr. Heping Zhu. It has been tested on nursery trees, peaches, grapes, and other large-canopy crops, and is now available commercially for retrofitting standard airblast sprayers. Our study is the first to evaluate the Intelligent Sprayer for control of the full range of pests and diseases on apples during the whole growing season.
For audio versions of this article, see the Small Farm Sustainability Podcast where we discuss return bloom, soil sampling, and interpreting soil reports over three separate podcast. The following discussion represents a snapshot in time as a lot can happen between now and next spring.
Fruit crops in Iowa are highly susceptible to spring freezes during bloom. The primary methods to protect fruit crops from injury are heat, air movement, row covers, and water.