Episode #70: Steven Bierlink

1:36:59
 
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Steven Bierlink is an apple grower located in Quincy, WA. When Steven returned to work on his family operation after graduating with a business degree, he was driven to meet the many challenges their orchard faced. Looking for solutions to bitter pit, cork spot, and lenticel rot, Steven sought out the management practices that could renew the health of their orchard.

Today, Steven abides by meticulous observation in his management practices that have brought many exciting successes, notably on his Honeycrisp blocks which have packed out at a stunning 160 bins per acre.

On this episode, Steven and John discuss:

  • Overcoming bitter pit in Honeycrisp apples by altering the interplay among excessive potassium applications, calcium timing, and manganese availability.
  • Steven’s focus on observation resulted in a shift away from his previous conventional operational methods.
  • How Steven balances data collected from fruit analysis and sap analysis to maximize marketable fruit production.
  • Managerial philosophies for happy, engaged employees, healthy work-life balance, and why he chooses to maintain a smaller-scale farm.
  • Virtually elimination of alternate-year bearing, through a combination of pruning, bud and spur management, PGR’s, nutrition, and lime-sulfur sprays.
  • The importance of growers owning the decision-making process, working alongside consultants.

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