Pear Day scheduled for Jan. 16 in Wenatchee

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WENATCHEE — Irrigation, new varieties and the fight against fire blight are among the topics on the agenda at the annual NCW Pear Day, scheduled for Jan. 16 at the Wenatchee Convention Center. The convention center is at 121 N. Wenatchee Ave.

Pear Day is sponsored by the Washington State University Extension program; admission is free. Each presentation lasts about 30 minutes.

The morning session begins at 9 a.m. and will focus on irrigation. Troy Peters of the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center will talk about evaluating irrigation systems for maximum benefit. Tianna DuPont, WSU-Chelan County Extension, will discuss a specific irrigation project at 9:30 a.m. The presentation will cover the results from the first year of operation after converting to a new irrigation system.

That’s followed by a 10-minute presentation of cost-sharing options for irrigation improvement from Erin Kaczmarczyk of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Ashley Thompson, Oregon State University Extension, will discuss the new pear variety, “Gem,” at 10:20 a.m. Thompson will talk about its response to disease and fire blight. Kevin Moffitt of Pear Bureau Northwest will review marketing and promotion efforts at 11 a.m.

A networking lunch is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.; lunch is free but advance registration is required.

The afternoon session will focus on fighting pests and disease. Chris Strohm of the Tree Fruit Research Center will talk about “natural enemies” – the good bugs in the orchard that fight the bad bugs – and how to attract and conserve them at 12:30 p.m. Indisputably bad bugs are the subject at 1 p.m.; David Horton of the USDA will detail methods of fighting pear psylla.

Using integrated pest management to control pear psylla is the subject of the 1:30 presentation. Louis Nottingham and Chris Strohm of the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center are the speakers.

Fire blight is the subject of two presentations beginning at 2:15 p.m. DuPont will review orchard management tactics designed to improve the chances of fighting fire blight. A panel discussion at 2:50 p.m. wraps up the program. Participants will answer questions on fire blight, how to minimize the possibility of infection and how to fight it.

All-day participants will receive three pesticide education certification credits. A trade show will be set up in the convention hall.

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