On your mark–get set–go for the 2017 chestnut season with COS

Three Important Items for Michigan Chestnut Growers to Note

1.An Asian chestnut gall wasp (ACGW) field trip will be held at MSU Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center (SWMREC) June 4th. Everything a grower needs to know about the ACGW will be presented during the Sunday meeting. We will explain the infestation, the biological control parasitoid that is following the infestation and the outcomes of this infestation. See for yourself the galls, the damage, and parasitoids. As always, clients and family of clients are free and non-clients are $25. Water and snacks will be provided. Guaranteed, if you don’t take any parts of the chestnut trees home with you, there is no chance you will take the insect home with you!

2. A few bags of Higgins Mix fertilizer (ammonium sulfate 21%) are still available. Scroll down to previous posts to find information, including cost.

3.Not many chestnut orchards have been planted above the 45th parallel. Those who have planted that far north have established orchards in a mid-continental climate that challenges everything we know about chestnut farming. Sure, chestnut forests can be found north of the 45th parallel in Europe, and the original chestnut forest of North America grew north of the 45th parallel. But orchards are different than forests. In farming chestnut trees, we have chosen grafted cultivars with specific characteristics grafted onto unknown seedling rootstock. The challenges will be many, not only severe winters, short seasons and the potential of a mid-October frost, but all the other challenges of those who choose to farm in southern Michigan, including chestnut blight and leaf hopper. By growing at or above the 45th parallel, land values may be cheaper, Asian chestnut gall wasp may arrive several years from now (if ever), certain insects may be less severe such as Japanese beetle, and frosts may not occur as often or be as severe. (in the infamous frost of 2012, no northern chestnut orchards were damaged due to the mid-May frosts).

The photos in this report represent the major cultivars planted in this orchard at parallel 45.6. The trees were obtained from Forrest Keeling Nursery and planted in late September, 2016. On 29 April we watched them break bud and wake up to their new permanent home in northern Michigan. All photos were take on April 29th, 2017. How do these compare to yours? Not all trees survive. Check out the Hint #48 to determine what to do about trees not breaking bud by early May.

 

Figures 1 and 2. ‘Colossal’ trees just barely pushing bud scales, slightly more behind the other European X Japanese hybrids in the orchard. This cultivar will be in love with this location, however, it is possible the location will challenge the growing scenario of ‘Colossal’ when compared to the other cultivars.

 

 

Figures 3 and 4. ‘Bouche de Betizac’ has pushed beyond their bud scales. In this orchard, Green Screen was used on trees without deer fence or cage protection and no browse damage was noted when Green Screen was in place. If Asian chestnut gall wasp makes it this far north, it will be met with scores of Bouche de Betizac resisting the infestation of the Asian chestnut gall wasp. Bouche de Betizac nuts will be falling before ‘Colossal’ chestnuts once they go into production.

 

Figures 5 and 6. ‘Precoce Migoule’ like Colossal is somewhat slower to break bud. Not to worry, it will soon be producing abundant pollen for the pollen receptive ‘Colossal’ and ‘Bouche de Betizac’ trees.

 

Figures 7 and 8. ‘Labor Day’ was one of the more advanced cultivars in this orchard. The large swollen buds were breaking up and down the stems. This tree will be producing pollen and its chestnuts will always be off the trees and into the coolers well before any autumn frost may appear.

 

Figures 9 and 10. ‘Marigoule’ was similar to ‘Labor Day’ pushing buds on this 2nd to last day in April. Like ‘Precoce Migoule’ and ‘Labor Day’, it will be producing pollen and nuts. ‘Marigoule’ will have chestnut blight resistance and it will be winter hardy.

 

Figures 11 and 12. ‘Marisol’ was more advanced than ‘Marigoule’ in this orchard and came of of dormancy with lots of energy and vigor. Like ‘Precoce Migoule’, ‘Labor Day’, and ‘Marigoule’, it produces pollen and nuts. ‘Marisol’ will have chestnut blight resistance and it will be winter hardy.

COS Does Fertilizer

Hurry! Only twenty fifteen of the 120 50-pound bags are left.

50 lb Bags of Higgins Mix (Ammonium Sulfate + micronutrients)

For Sale

After the MSU Chestnut Establishment Meeting (click here for agenda and registration) adjourns at 4:00 pm at Clarksville, COS partners will present our spring fertilizing demonstration. We will meet you in the parking lot and take you out to the chestnut plots where we will discuss fertilizers and tree vigor, both factors needed in calculating the amount of nitrogen to add to the soil around the trees. We will discuss the types of fertilizer and the ones you may want to use.

Even if you do not attend the Chestnut Establishment meeting, simply meet us in the parking lot at 4:00 and we will take you to the plots and demonstrate the calculations needed for fertilizing both young and older trees. The cost is free for clients and immediate family members, and $25 for non-members and friends of members. We will also have available 50 pound bags of Higgins mix the best fertilizer mix known for Michigan’s chestnuts.

Higgins mix was devised by a former MSU Forestry professor, Norm Higgins who grew every type of chestnut imaginable in Perry, Michigan. These were probably the best chestnuts in Michigan until our modern selections were established in orchards. Mixed together he had American, Chinese, Japanese, Europeans and all of their possible hybrids. The cultivar ‘Labor Day’ a Japanese species was selected from among his trees and grafted by MSU as a precocious pollinizer that dropped nuts in early to mid-September. Norm did everything right when growing these chestnut trees except one thing–he did not believe in pruning. So, the trees at his orchard became large and then mostly non-productive. But his fertilizer, based on ammonium sulfate (which drives down the soil pH) and a balance of important micronutrients, remains an important part of our chestnut culture in Michigan.

To read about this material, click on the 2017 Chestnut Pesticide Guide (on the right hand side panel of this website).  Inside that you will find the Michigan Chestnut Management Guide 2017. Scroll down that and you will find the Nutrient Management information section. There is information regarding the fertilizers that you can use, and why you use them. Then there are tables that tell you how much fertilizer to use per tree. It also discusses the information regarding tree vigor and age or size of tree, which are also important to know. All this will be discussed at the Fertilizer Demonstration, on Thursday starting at 4:00 pm at the Clarksville Research Center. We hope to see you there!

The Higgins mix fertilizer (ammonium sulphate 21%) that is used at the station and on some of the most productive orchards will be for sale in 50 pound bags. We have a ton available. Your cost as a client of COS is listed, below. Add $3.00 per bag for non-members.

$27 for 50lb 1-4 bags 

$25.50 for 5-10 bags

$23.50 for 10-19 bags

$21.50 for 20+ bags

In the past, this has been called the Higgins Mix it is now referred to as the ammonium sulfate (21%) in the tables found in the Michigan Chestnut Management Guide (inside the 2017 Pesticide Guide); Nutrient Management section on our website. This is the best fertilizer you can buy for your chestnuts and the environment as it does so much for the trees. To get this fertilizer mixed, it takes a 3-ton minimum order, and COS has taken care of fertilizer for you. You won’t find this mix anywhere else. If you can’t make it to the fertilization demonstration on Thursday, but want to purchase some, just email us at info@chestnuthelp.com.

How do you get these orchard chestnut trees to produce an 85 pound average within 15 years?  How do you pay back the tree for such great production?  How do you get your trees in shape for the ensuing season and the ones beyond?  Fertilization.  You can’t do it without good fertilizer and a fertilizer management plan.   Dennis Fulbright at the plot, Clarksville Research Station, where Colossal trees averaged 85 pounds per tree in 2016 (some were over 100 pounds).  15-years-old trees.

Chestnut Orchard Establishment Meeting and Fertilizing demonstration—April 20th

 The first ever MSU-sponsored Chestnut Orchard Establishment meeting will be held Thursday, April 20 at the MSU Clarksville Research Center. Meet the researchers who set up the only Cost of Production tool that is available and featured on the MSU website, www.chestnuts.msu.edu. As you can see in the agenda, other important topics will be covered including the cultivars to plant and how to care for the orchard. We will also be covering new developments.  Again, COS team members will be making featured presentations.  You will not want to miss this meeting.
Once again, we provide our COS members the convenience to register for this meeting by clicking on the the registration page (for registration, click here). If you are thinking about establishing an orchard or have just started, we think  the Orchard Establishment meeting is a must for you. Take a look at the agenda (click here) for this meeting. A $50 fee is required, payable to Michigan State University.
Also, be aware that our first Field Trip will be held after that meeting at 4:00pm, the subject will be fertilizing your chestnut trees and a demonstration will be provided.  Field trips are always free to our members and $25.00 to non-members, just like last year.  We hope to see you at the this meeting  and/or at the field trip after this meeting on April 20.

MNPC meeting:Agenda—March 18

Midwest Nut Producers Council, Annual Meeting

March 18, 2017

9302 Portland Road

Clarksville, Michigan 48815


10:00   Welcome and introductions

Pete Ivory, MNPC President and owner of Ivory Farms

10:10   Asian chestnut gall wasp in Michigan; what we know and where we’re headed

Dr. Josh Springer and Dr. Dennis Fulbright, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Science, Michigan State University

Dr. Deb McCullough, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University

11:00   Advances in chestnut rooted cuttings

Dr. Carmen Medina-Mora and Mario Mandujano, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Science, Michigan State University

11:30   Strategies for inoculating chestnut seedlings with truffles

Dr. Gian Maria Niccolo Benucci, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Science, Michigan State University

12:00    LUNCH

1:00   Midwest Nut Producers Council business meeting

Pete Ivory, MNPC President and owner of Ivory Farms

Bill Nash, MNPC Treasurer and owner of Nash Nurseries

1:30   Chestnut production year in review

Clarksville plots Dr. Dennis Fulbright, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Michigan State University

Cooperative discussion Roger Blackwell, President of Chestnut Growers Inc. and owner of New Era Chestnuts

2:30   Open discussion period (15 minutes per topic)

               The importance of cropload estimate—Led by Ginger      Rinkel, MNPC Secretary and owner of Vicary Road Chestnut Farm and Bill Nash, MNPC Treasurer and owner of Nash Nurseries

                Using supplemental pollen—Led by Dr. Dennis Fulbright, Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Michigan State University

                Hypovirulence treatment update—Dr. Josh Springer, Chestnut Orchard Solutions

               Acreage update—Led by Bill Nash, MNPC Treasurer and owner of Nash Nurseries

3:30   Food safety on the farm

Erin Lizotte, Michigan State University Extension 

4:00    Meeting wrap-up; evaluation, pesticide credits &  adjourn

Erin Lizotte, Michigan State University Extension


Registration Open for the 2017 Midwest Nut Producers Council’s Annual Meeting

This meeting is a great opportunity for new growers to network and current growers to learn about optimizing productivity.

This meeting is free to MNPC member farms who remit their $50 in dues at the door, non-members pay $20 online via the registration page. Pesticide recertification credits will be available. You may download the complete agenda and register for the event by visiting https://events.anr.msu.edu/MNPC17/. Registration closes on March 16th.

 

MSU Extension programs and material are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by calling Erin Lizotte at 231-944-6504 to make arrangements. Requests will be met when possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW PAGES ON THE COS Website

This website publishes the Posts and Pages of Chestnut Orchard Solutions. Our “Posts” are found right here smack in the middle of the website and you can scroll through our past Posts. Our “Pages” run in the right margin on this website and on smartphones you can find the Pages near the bottom of the website. Our Pages currently publish our Hints, Jillian Young (our chestnut community give back), our Goals and Purposes, and an article on Why Chestnuts?

We now introduce 2 new Pages. The first one is called        O–M–G. We hope we don’t have to write an O–M–G too often as this will cover things we believe are absolutely outrageously crazy in the world of chestnut. Go to O–M–G to read about our first O–M–G. Because of this O–M–G, we are stepping up our efforts to make sure Michigan growers are clear about the reasons we grow chestnuts the way we do. Therefore, below is our cure for the first and current   O–M–G, its called education.

The second of our new Pages section is called Thank You. There are always a host of people we need to thank and this is our permanent way to mark our Thanks to them. The first Thanks is about Lupe Rios who works for Forrest Keeling Nursery. He just received a major award. Go to the Thank You Page and read about Lupe Rios. And then go there often to see who we next have to Thank for their help and inspiration.


2017 Meeting Calendar Still Being Set

(as information comes in, these will be up dated)

February 1      American Chestnuts Today                                                        

Time:  7:00-9:00 pm

Location: Boardman River Nature Center,                                                 1450 South Cass Road, Traverse City

Sponsored by: Leelanau, Grand Traverse and Benzie Conservation Districts

Contact: Kama Ross; kama.ross@macd.org

 

March 18        MNPC Annual Meeting, Clarksville

Time: 10:00am to 4:00pm

Location: MSU Clarksville Research Center                                                9032 Portland Road, Clarksville

Agenda being developed

Contact: Erin Lizotte; taylo548@anr.msu.edu

Registration details: www.chestnuts.msu.edu

See: this website for more information as it develops

 

Late April       Chestnut Orchard Establishment

Date proposed sometime in the last 2 weeks of                                         April. An all day, weekday meeting held at Clarksville Research Center

Subjects to be covered:

  •    The world of commercial chestnut production in Michigan
  •    Cost of Production
  •    Orchard establishment and design
  •    Pest management and resources
  •    What does the Future hold?
  •    Harvest, storage and market

 

Registration details: www.chestnuts.msu.edu

See: this website for more information as it develops

Contact: Erin Lizotte; taylo548@anr.msu.edu

MNPC Spring Chestnut Meeting set for Clarksville on March 18— Agenda posted soon. (click on calendar March 18 for more information)

David English, President, Chestnut Growers of America and Florida chestnut grower

12/22/16 Lansing State Journal “Checking out chestnuts”

“Michigan is the explosive center of chestnut growth in the country right now.”

 

 

Chestnut Orchard Solutions

wishes all of you a

Happy New Year

and may your lives and orchards flourish in 2017 and ever after

(remember, some of you are planting trees that will live 200 years or more)

Ancient Spanish chestnut trees

 

 

“Michigan is the explosive center of chestnut growth in the country right now.” How did this happen?

IT HAPPENED BECAUSE: 

1. Because we use science-based results from:

1.1. Field plots around the state, growers’ orchards, and information gathered from other states and countries;

1.2. Experiments to determine the cause of internal kernel breakdown (IKB) and COS does everything to prevent this from ever becoming a problem in your orchard;

1.3. Experiments which found a material for storage rots;

1.4. Field plots and growers’ orchards to find when the flowers are pollinized in Michigan;

1.5. Nature to determine how the biological control of chestnut blight worked in Michigan American chestnut stands surviving chestnut blight which is being used by MSU and COS for managing chestnut blight in Michigan orchards; and

1.6. Experiments to determine which cultivars yield best year in and year out and publish those yields for discussion.

Experiment to find out when are flowers pollinized in Michigan

 

 

 

 

 

Colossal and Precose Miguole plant side by side
Management of Chestnut Blight

 

IKB severe symptoms

 

IKB less severe symptoms
Studies to keep nuts from rotting in storage

2. Because we started Chestnut Orchard Solutions to help investors and growers:

2.1. Get started in chestnut culture;

2.2. Yes, you can do it yourself with the MSU website www.chestnuts.msu.edu, but since we wrote most of that we know how hard it is to do it by yourself;

2.3. Obtain all of the best information from that website that you can and then COS offers you in-depth explanations and we’ll even do the work for you;

2.4. Find the easy way for orchard establishment; and

2.5. harvest their chestnuts as we harvested about 1/3 of the record harvest in 2016 with the self-propelled harvester and by nut wizard.

COS team planting chestnut trees in a new orchard

3. Because we found cultivars of chestnut that work hard for your profits:

3.1. ‘Colossal’, an outstanding yield leader with large nuts;

3.2. ‘Bouche de Betizac’, because we knew someone would bring in the Asian Chestnut Gall Wasp (ACGW) and we are ready with the only resistant cultivar available; and,

3.3. New generation cultivars with superior winter survival such as ‘Marigoule’.

Asian Chestnut Gall Wasp (ACGW) coming out of gall.
The good-guy, parasitoid (larva) that feeds of the wasp
Dead gall wasp due to parasitoid.
Bouche de Betizac, cultivar resistant to Asian Gall Wasp

4. Because we have found a nursery to work with us:

4.1. Forrest Keeling Nursery grafts our selected cultivars;

4.2. They will have delivered 6,000 trees for Michigan for fall and spring planting;

4.3. In 2016, we toured a farm that purchased trees from FKN and another un-named nursery and we showed you the stand establishment differences (99% versus 30% stand establishment)

4.4. FKN brings the trees to Michigan for you to pick or for COS to deliver them to your farm.

4.5. FKN listens closely to MSU growers and watches yields and provides the trees that grow and yield best for us; and,

4.6. They only sell Michigan trees to Michigan growers.

Lupe Rios, propagation manager of chestnut trees in Forrest Keeling Nursery

5. Because we have confidence developed from:

5.1. Michigan being one of 2 states whose Land Grant University Extension Educators work on your behalf in integrated pest management (IPM) where you can find answers to your pest and pesticide issues;

5.2. Michigan being the only state that provides a COST of PRODUCTION software tool stating the way to make profits and how much profit might be made; and

5.3. Michigan being the only state with public chestnut cultivar trials in more than 4 locations.

Potato Leaf Hopper-IPM Programs from Extention Educator Erin Lizortte

  1. Because we started a cooperative where:

6.1. MSU extension value-added educator, Tom Kalchik, helped growers develop the single most important marketing tool, the cooperative;

6.2. Roger Blackwell and the CGI board of directors have worked to maintain the financial health of the cooperative;

6.3. Customers can find chestnut products at the best prices;

6.4. technicians maintain the quality of the chestnuts during storage; and

6.5. the sophisticated equipment helps grade the sizes and types of chestnuts to meet the customers needs.

 

This website is setup as a post, thus do not hesitate to scroll down to see previous posts. These previous COS website posts include what COS has been involved with in a year (2016). Enjoy!

 

Chestnuts on Futures MSU magazine

Chestnut Orchard Solutions (COS) only exits because of the hard work of research started at MSU and of the professional growers in the state. COS was founded to consult with new and existing growers to help them be successful in this industry.

image001-2

This article published by MSU Futures magazine highlights the industry and where it is going and that more, professional growers are needed.

The COS team knows better than anyone how to do things correctly and can help you be successful a s a grower of chestnut–we have the solutions!

If you want more information please remember to come to the Great Lakes Expo on Tuesday at 9am at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids to attend the chestnut education session.

 

 

COS next appearance is Great Lakes Expo 2016

glexpo2017-logo

Great Lakes Expo 2016: The Premiere Show for
 Fruit and Vegetable Growers, Greenhouse Growers and Farm                                     Marketers!

http://www.glexpo.com

(DOWNLOAD EXPO BROCHURE)

(Re-registration Credits for MI and OH and CCA credits posted)

Chestnut Education Session

Tuesday, December 6-morning 9:00 am

Where: Grand Gallery (main level) Room D

MI Recertification credits: 1 (COMM CORE, PRIV CORE)

OH Recertification credits: 0.5 (presentations as marked)

CCA Credits: PM(1.0) CM(1.0)

Moderator: Josh Springer, President, Chestnut Orchard Solutions, Lansing, MI

Agenda:

9:00 am The Michigan Chestnut Market; Growth, Pricing and Demand

•  Roger Blackwell, President of Chestnut Growers Inc. and Owner of New Era Chestnuts, Milford, MI

9:40 am Orchard Design; Site Selection, Cultivars, and Care

•  Dennis Fulbright, Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Dept., MSU

10:30 am Considerations for New Growers; Economics, Pests and Resources (OH: 2B, 0.5 hr)

•  Erin Lizotte, Integrated Pest Management Educator, MSU Extension, Cadillac, MI

11:00 am Session Ends

Certainly 2016 will go down as one of the great years in chestnut history, from the perspective of new orchards, high yields and new cultivars. At the Great Lakes Expo chestnut education session, Dennis Fulbright promises to discuss the Clarksville yield trials and compare the 2016 season with results from the previous seasons. He also promises to bring people up-to-date on chestnut blight biological control efforts, the progress MSU is making on tissue culture and rooted cuttings, and Asian chestnut gall wasp spread. Bring your friends and potential orchardists as we will focus on our continued effort in establishing more orchards and a critical mass of chestnut farms that will cement Michigan’s role as the Number 1 chestnut state.

Have you seen the giant ‘Bouche de Betizac’ nuts? New customers are being found and reliance on streamlined methods for disbursing the product are being used. Two new chestnut bottled beers premiered in 2016. Both Chestnut Head from ROAK in Royal Oak, Michigan and King Chestnut, Tennessee Brew Works, Nashville, Tennessee (released on November 10th) are being distributed to stores. These beers go along with the 10th anniversary of Fuego del Otoño production and sales from our longtime friend Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. They also produced 2 new chestnut beers; a chestnut IPA and their flagship BAM beer now with chestnuts. These new beers supplement their gluten-free chestnut beer which won the gold medal at the Denver All American Beer Festival in 2010.

Chestnut Orchard Solutions will be looking into various ways to obtain new chestnut harvesters so that more orchards can be harvested in a more timely manner around the state with a simple application that you can find on this website in September, 2017.

There will be no chestnut booth this year, but Forrest Keeling Nursery will be present and staffed with people willing to help you with your chestnut questions. We will see you at the education session or at the Forrest Keeling Nursery booth.


Fun Things Seen with Chestnut This Fall

(click on each photo to enlarge)

 

 

 

COS Finishes Record Harvest!!!!

With over 70,000 pounds to its credit, Chestnut Orchard Solutions finished its first harvest as a start-up company. Using the only self-propelled chestnut harvester and cleaner in North America, the FACMA Cimini 180s, well over 65,000 pounds were harvested from orchards around the state. Operators of the FACMA harvester included Dr. Josh Springer and Dr. Carmen Medina. Its good to be back in the lab working on the biological control of chestnut blight, tissue culture, and rooted cuttings of chestnut. Next up, the events surrounding the Great Lakes Expo education session Tuesday, December 6, at 9:00 am (DeVoss Place, Grand Rapids)

 

At this time, COS team members want to stop and say thanks to those who made this possible.

 

Our clients, first and foremost, we need to thank you, as you were the ones who trusted us to get to your orchards and harvest as many nuts as possible. It was a somewhat difficult harvest to manage as orchards in the southern tier counties were dropping nuts when the central and northern tier county’s were dropping. We made the trip from near the Indiana state line to the 45th parallel, and back to Clarksville, more than once. So, for the three of us at COS, thank you for your trust, your help and your encouragement.

 

FACMA, who makes the best chestnut harvesters and who has supported our efforts in Michigan for the past several years. This year, our little machine harvested the amount that had been close to the previous state record last year.

 

Michigan State University, who worked with COS to help make this harvest possible.

 

Mario Mandujano, who taught us how to use the harvester, told us its secrets, and taught us to care for it; he really worked behind the scenes to make this commercial harvest possible in everyway. Thank you Mario for trusting us to do it right.

 

Jim Blaha, an engineer who worked on the machine, helping to prepare it for its biggest harvest.

 

Mark Stites (Repairs and More, LLC), Elk Rapids, who answered a call for help one day when a problem needed diagnosing and fixing. We were a long way from home. It ended up being a blown fuse, but how did we know? Thanks, Mark. Need help in Elk Rapids area? Call 231-360-9070 and ask for Mark.

 

Don Guateri, who put things in order with the orchards up north and found us Mark Stites when we were far from home. Don, you stuck with us when we were on the verge.

 

Gary Zehr and Dr. Dan Guyer, both who made these weeks possible with their past and current support of our mechanical needs in all aspects of chestnut work.

 

Without these organizations and people, the three team members of COS would not have been able to commercially harvest approximately 30% of the state’s cooperative totals. We hope to have more machines in the orchards next year.

photo-1-chestnuts-in-burs

With burs full of chestnuts and trees dropping burs, COS attempted to harvest as many chestnuts as possible, by Nut Wizard and FACMA harvester.

photo-2-leaving-a-farm-with-bins-full-of-chestnuts

We ran chestnuts back to Clarksville as often as possible. Here a ton of chestnuts are ready to leave a farm at the 45th parallel after dark for delivery to CGI the next morning.

photo-3-horse-competition

Big horse or small trees. Competition for the chestnuts was increasing by the day.

photo-4a-chestnut-harvester-and-pruning

Remember when we asked you to prune your trees and you asked, “Why?”

photo-4b-remember-to-prune

Carmen stops the harvester and assesses the fix before allowing  the harvester to move forward again.

img_3475

Josh working the harvester on the last day in an orchard never harvested by machine prior to this day.

COS More Than Halfway Through Record Harvest

It’s been a nearly perfect chestnut growing season from winter to spring to summer and now fall. COS team members are out in southwest Michigan, central regions and northwest regions machine and hand-harvesting chestnuts.  The increased harvest from 2015 to 2016 represents several aspects of the trees: After the easy winter of 2015/16, the trees are repairing damage after the two difficult winters of 2013/14 and 2014/15; a lack of any spring frost in the state, the warm and dry conditions during pollination, just enough rain at the appropriate times, and grower interest in the developing chestnut industry in Michigan.  While Michigan’s overall yields never decreased over the past 3 years, they did not increase proportionally to the age of the trees in the last two seasons. This year is a different story. In 2016, it seems the yield has caught up with the age of the trees.  Most chestnut trees are producing well. Orchards that had produced 12,000 to 15,000 pounds are producing over 20,000 pounds or more in 2016.

So far, halfway through the harvest, the COS team has harvested about 40,000 pounds of nuts representing several orchards.  We will continue to work hard until the harvest season is over.  An interesting event is happening with harvest this year.  It seems like most of the burs are open and nuts have dropped, but there are still many burs on the trees that have not opened yet and the second half of the harvest season will see these nuts drop.  Probably Michigan, taken as whole, will see more than 100 tons of chestnuts for the first time.

nuts-and-burs-in-an-orchard-with-30000-poundsChestnuts and burs on the ground in a Michigan orchard. This orchard is producing well over 30,000 pounds from ‘Colossal’ chestnut trees planted in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

Dr. Josh Springer, COS president harvesting nuts on the FACMA-built Cimini 180, self-propelled harvester.

 

carmen-on-harvesterDr. Carmen Medina, first woman operator of the FACMA self-propelled harvester in North America.

 

harvester-trailHarvester trail through orchard.