(Too) Low Hanging Fruit 24 February 2021

(Too) Low Hanging Fruit

High-tech detection, smart management will help pineapple growers determine harvest needs

A fruit that’s ready to harvest tends to weigh down the branch, making it easier to spot and easier to reach. But what happens when a fruit grows so low to the ground, in such densely packed blocks, that you can’t easily walk among (or under) the plants? How do growers determine which fruits are ready for harvest, and which ones aren’t? Case in point: the natural flowering of pineapple was the basis of the industry up until the 1960s. Now, pineapple fields are forced in blocks to flower, with a chemical that releases ethylene and induces flowering, making the fruit available year-round.

However, if the days are short and the nights cool, natural flowering will occur potentially before a scheduled ethylene treatment, leading to two flowering peaks and hence, two fruit maturation peaks and more than one harvest. Since pineapple is hand-harvested, a grower’s ability to harvest all of the fruit of a field in a single pass is critical to reduce field losses, costs, and waste, and to maximize efficiency.

In a new study funded by the USDA’s Small Business Innovation Research program, researchers in CTAHR, IntelinAir, Inc., and Columbia University are investigating whether remote sensing and computer vision can help growers carry out regular inspection of the field and automated counting of flower intensity.

“Our work used deep learning-based density-estimation approaches to count the number of flowering pineapple plants in a field block,” says Robert Paull of the Dept. of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences.
“This enables growers to optimize their planning and management practices for getting optimum fruit harvest.”

Drones, he explains, are being used worldwide to monitor crop growth, disease, and weeds, and to apply fertilizer and crop protection products. The tool allows growers to be more flexible, efficient, and highly targeted, with lower costs and input application. They’re also able to service hard-to-reach areas and where weather prevents access by heavy equipment.

“New technology and management strategies are critical for the economic success of farming in Hawaii,” Robert adds. “Drones are used widely, though less effort has been devoted to tropical agriculture systems. In the tropics, drones offer the ability to enhance precision agriculture, improve crop management, and reduce environmental impacts and costs.”

Read the full study, Large-Scale Counting and Localization of Pineapple Inflorescence Through Deep Density-Estimation, which appears in a recent edition of Frontiers in Plant Science.

Agritourism Tuesdays 24 February 2021

Agritourism Tuesdays

GoFarm, ORCD, HATA, and HTA partner up – and announce a tasty winner

“The Agritourism Mini-Grant Awardees is an amazing cohort of local farmers and businesses – and starting us off is Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Rum, meticulously crafted from farm to bottle!” says Pomai Weigert of GoFarm Hawaiʻi. The Kohana team “grow single varietals that are hand harvested, pressed to juice and then distilled to perfection, resulting in one of the world’s finest pure cane rums,” she adds. “Their hope is to capture the beauty, honesty, and history of Hawaiian sugarcane flavors, and share that story.” Each Tuesday, the partnership of GoFarm, O’ahu Research & Conservation Development Council, Hawai’i Agritourism Association, and Hawai’i Tourism Authority will announce the next winner via social media.

The awards to local farmers and businesses will support the development of innovative agri-tourism operations in Hawaiʻi. Fifteen local businesses were selected through a competitive application process after receiving training from GoFarm Hawaii and the Hawaii Agri-Tourism Association via the 2020 Hawaii Agri-Tourism Webinar Summer Series.

“To book a tour and tasting of Kohana Rum, order online, and learn more, go to kohanarum.com,” Pomai says. “Be sure to follow GoFarm Hawaiʻi on social media every Tuesday, through June 2021, to see our highlighted awardees each week!” 

Post Post-Modern 24 February 2021

Post Post-Modern

FDM professor edits a book on fashion’s direction under contemporary conditions

Is post-modernism dead in dress, fashion, and appearance? If we are in a new era, how should it be called, and what’s the influence of this post post-modernism on design houses and mass producers? What are the new geographic and identity markers? And which artists will lead fashion exploration? A new book, Fashion, Dress, and Post-postmodernism, is a companion to ongoing research on the relationships between post-postmodernism, fashion, and dress. Edited by professor Andy Reilly of the Fashion Design and Merchandising program in the Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences, the book is a collection of essays from noted scholars on contemporary theories of culture, and their applicability to dress and retail practices. “I am very excited to see this book in print,” says Andy. “This area of research on contemporary conditions is emerging and is the first book to address fashion in relation to them.” 

He adds, “I am especially thankful to retired FDM instructor Marcia Morgado for her pioneer work on dress theory, which has inspired many others researchers, including myself.”

Check out the book.

Over the Fence 24 February 2021

Over the Fence

An interesting read about the beautiful trees on our UHM campus

“Properly maintained, a university campus is much more than just the buildings and their rooms: it is also the functional and aesthetic organization of outdoor spaces and all they include. The campus landscape and its associated amenities become the fabric that holds the buildings together and makes the campus's powerful impression a positive one.” So begins the article “Over the Fence” by Richard Criley, emeritus horticulture professor from the Dept. of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences. As Richard correctly points out, our beautiful campus is ideal for outdoor instruction, a space to advocate for sustainability, and a world-class example of how plants can be used in education. “I've been tending to the vines on the fence between UH and MidPac's athletic field for almost two decades as part of the UH Landscape Advisory Committee's Adopt-a-Landscape program,” Richard says. “Installing vines on the fence developed as I took over the ornamental plant identification course. I planted, watered, pruned, and tended 30 different vines, along with some help from the UH Grounds department. As one who lives in a condominium, this became my garden.”

Read the full article.

AND did you ever wonder what are those gorgeous yellow flowers in front of Gilmore Hall? Or that massive tree next to Miller? You can find them all in this online map of important trees on campus.

Deer in Drought 24 February 2021

Deer in Drought

Glenn Teves comments about the effect on Molokaʻi

Axis deer, invasive and detrimental to Molokaʻi’s fragile ecosystem, have also fed the local community for generations. But with the prolonged drought, these starving wildlife are destroying farm crops and forest watershed, leading to erosion and runoff into the ocean. “They started moving into the farm area and are just raising hell,” said Glenn Teves, Extension agent and Molokaʻi native, in a recent interview for the Star Advertiser newspaper about the ongoing situation. He suggests that killing the deer for slaughterhouses could help food banks and those in need during the pandemic.