Outreach plan summary…

This project will have a national focus and will leverage ongoing research activities initiated in preparation for this proposal. Project leaders in each of the cooperating states (West=WA, North
East=NY, MA, and PA, Midwest (MI) and South East (VA and NC) will conduct in-field demonstrations, organize winter grower meetings, and summer field tours/field days, and develop and disseminate information via Extension publications, trade journals and web-based resources. We will conduct collaborative on-farm trials with leading growers and crop consultants to demonstrate the economic impact of precisely managing crop load and to expedite industry adoption. The data will be used to develop and strengthen predictive models to optimize crop load and maximum crop value on a cultivar and regional basis. In year 1, we will extend to growers and consultants the fundamental concepts and tools to calculate optimum crop loads and facilitate adoption of the pollen tube growth model, the carbohydrate model and the fruit growth model. Concomitantly, these models will be improved and ground-truthed in each region to explain and predict thinning responses to fruit growers in their respective states. In the second and third years we will demonstrate computer vision machines to count buds, flowers and fruitlets during planned field days. In the third year, we will demonstrate computer vision and robotic tools to geo-reference trees and then communicate tree by tree instructions on thinning to human workers during planned field days. In the fourth year we expect to demonstrate robotic tools to adjust crop load in growers orchards during field days. This project is a partnership between public and commercial companies to hasten production and development of user-friendly machines and/or services to precisely manage crop load and maximize profitability.

The PACMAN Extension team includes:

  • Jon Clements, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Karen Lewis, Washington State University
  • Mario Miranda, Craig Kahlke, and Michael Basedow, Cornell University
  • Philip Schwallier (retired), Michigan State University
  • Long He and Daniel Weber, Pennsylvania State University

Be sure to see our POSTS for the latest outputs/outcomes of PACMAN.