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Washington Fruit & Produce Co. Smart Orchard


About the Project

The Smart Orchard project at WA Fruit is an exciting new initiative that seeks to revolutionize the way orchards are managed and operated. Leveraging cutting-edge technology and advanced data analytics, the project aims to optimize resource utilization, reduce waste, and increase yields. The project involves the installation of a range of sensors, including soil moisture sensors, weather stations, humidity sensors, dendrometers, yield analysis and much more that will continuously monitor conditions in the orchard. The data collected by these sensors will be analyzed in real-time to identify patterns and trends that can be used to inform decision-making. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a more sustainable and efficient orchard that maximizes the use of resources while minimizing its impact on the environment.

2023 Overview

No events at the moment

The 2023 Smart Orchard scope is changing a bit! We are turning over to focus on irrigation and chemical thinning task maps to inform variable rate applications. This project involves the use of various technologies such as LiDAR, Green Atlas Cartographer, Smart Apply Intelligent Spray Control System, Swan Systems, and Burrow Tractors to inform and optimize different aspects of apple orchard operations, including sunburn prevention, herbicide application, chemical thinning, and irrigation. The project also aims to collect and aggregate data on various orchard parameters such as soil moisture, soil temperature, sap flow, and nutrient trends, among others, to inform variable rate applications. The project involves collaborating with various researchers, vendors, and stakeholders to gather and analyze the data, and potentially expand the project to other orchards.

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2022 Smart Orchard 

In 2022, we did things a little different. Instead of having one large field day, the Smart Orchard partners split the days up and had a designated Spanish days for the first occasion. The first day (July 26/27th) was lead out by WSU researchers Bernardita Sallato, Lav Khot, and Lee Kalcsits, focusing on nutrition, and heat stress management.


The second day (August 2nd) was revolved around "New Technologies" where lead out, followed by discussions from Dynamax, Thingy,IoT, Aker Ag, Ceres Imaging, Arable, CropVue, AEA. Not only were the companies that participated in the Smart Orchard Project there but we invited guest companies to participate in the field day, giving participants the opportunity to learn more and see what other emerging technologies are available to the ag community. Guest companies included: Tree To Scope, AgriNET, Soil Tech Wireless, Wilbur Ellis, Chamberlin Ag, FieldIn, Hectre, Nutrien Ag Solutions, PickTrace, Meter Group, & LIVE DEMOS from Guss Automation and Smart Apply, Inc.

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Yield & Data

Researcher Collaboration

Dr. Ines Hanrahan

WTFRC Executive Director


Dr. Hanrahan serves as Executive Director of the WTFRC effective August 2018. She was previously employed as a Project Manager by the Commission since 2005.

Ines holds a Diploma in Agricultural Engineering from Humboldt University Berlin, Germany in 1999 and a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Washington State University.

Her professional background in practical and academic horticulture encompasses research, teaching, and consulting for the past 20+ years. Dr. Hanrahan’s expertise includes the management of scientific projects such as: apple postharvest physiological disorder prevention, optimization of cropping and storage systems for pome fruit, management of plant material evaluation from breeding programs for commercial suitability, and applied food safety research. Overall, her primary focus is on expediting transfer of research results to implementation, while providing an ongoing link between scientists and the industry. In addition, she is passionate about training and mentoring the next generation of industry professionals

Dr. Lav Khot

Associate Professor Ag Engineering


Dr. Khot works in the Agricultural Automation Engineering research area of the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. His research and extension program focuses on “Sensing and automation technologies for site specific and precision management of production agriculture.” 

Special emphasis is towards integration of:

• Remote Sensing (Unmanned and Manned Aerial Systems)

• Ground-based (Proximal) Crop Sensing

• Decision Support Systems and Information Delivery Technologies

• Precise Applications of various Production inputs

• Agricultural Machinery and processes

• Data-based modeling

Dr. Troy Peters

Professor Biological Systems Engineering

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Dr. Troy works at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, WA. Troy's primary focus is on agriculture irrigation while conducting research in Land, Air, Water Resources, and Environmental Engineering (LAWREE). This all includes deficit irrigation, irrigation water hydraulics, irrigation scheduling and management, irrigation automation, sprinkler irrigation efficiency, low energy precision application (LEPA), low elevation spray application (LESA), and crop water estimation.

Bernardita Sallato

Tree Fruit Extension Specialist WSU IAREC


Bernardita’s program provides leadership in applied research, extension, and outreach for the PNW tree fruit industry. Her goal is improving orchard efficiency and fruit production through horticultural management practices and technology.
Main areas of interest are 1) Soils and plant nutrition; 2) Tree fruit stress management; and 3) General horticultural practices for tree fruit production.



M.Sci. Physiology and Fruit Production Area – PUC, Chile (2006)
B.Sci. Agriculture Engineer – Horticulture – PUC, Chile (2004)

Dr. Lee Kalcsits

Assistant Professor, Tree Fruit Physiology

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  • Tree fruit physiology

  • Abiotic stress

  • Plant nutrition

  • Impacts of preharvest environment on postharvest physiology

Program Objectives

  • Develop new tools for identifying the nutritional status of fruit trees

  • Advance the understanding of how environment (light, temperature, water, nutrients) affects fruit tree physiology, growth and development

  • Create management strategies to mitigate physiological problems that are associated with abiotic stress in fruit treesAdd text to your email.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Tree Physiology, University of British Columbia

  • M.S., Tree Ecophysiology, University of Saskatchewan

  • B.S., Horticulture, University of Saskatchewan

Gwen Hoheisel

Professor / Regional Extension Specialist / County Director

  • Viticulture

  • Tree Fruits

  • High-Value Specialty Crops

  • Entomology

  • Sprayer Technology



  • M.S., Entomology, Pennsylvania State University

  • B.S., Zoology, University of Maryland

Tory Schmidt 

WTFRC Horticultural Associate

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​Tory was hired by the WTFRC in 1998 and currently serves as a Project Manager. He heads up the Commission’s research programs in crop load and canopy management, as well as managing ongoing studies of pesticide residues on apples and cherries, and is a member of the Washington Tree Fruit Extension Team.

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