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Bob Larson Little Cherry Disease Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: November 08, 2018

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Little Cherry Disease and Western X are two serious diseases that Northwest cherry growers are watching closely. WSU virologists say it’s reached epidemic proportions.

Northwest Cherry Growers president BJ Thurlby says about the only way to deal with it is to start pulling out the trees …

THURLBY … “You think of a satellite image and you look down and there’s a tree that’s infected and the growers will take ten trees around it. And so, you have these little gaps in orchards you’re seeing all over the place. But, some growers don’t mess around, they’ll take out a hundred acres. They get it 20-30 trees and they just say that’s it, we’ve got to start over and try something else.”

Thurlby says it’s very difficult to deal with …

THURLBY … “We don’t know where it’s coming from. It’s one of those mysteries and it’s something that is really scary. It could put people out of business. So, we’re paying close attention to. We’ve got WSU and Oregon State University, the best scientists in the world when it comes to tree fruit. They’re looking at it and pounding away at it.”

Thurlby says it ranks right at the top for biggest grower worries …

THURLBY … “When we look at threats for our industry, labor has been at the top of our list for years, you know, will we have enough labor to get our crops picked and we continue to have enough people that the H-2A programs are in place. It seems to work, but man, I’d say that if after that if you talk to a grower and say what’s your biggest concern and most of them will say Little Cherry Virus or Western X depending on where they’re growing their fruit. It’s a big deal.”

Thurlby says there’s a 5-to-6 year production turnaround after trees are removed and replanted.

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