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Warm weather comes at the right time to plump pears

 Posted: 4:30 PM May 01, 2014

The record-warm temperatures at the end of April should give local pear crops a boost.

The timing is just right for a few days in the 90-degree range, growers said.

"It gets the pears off to a good running start and gets them up and growing," said Mike Naumes, president of Naumes Inc.

David Sugar, a pathologist with Oregon State University's Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, said the timing is perfect for sizing come harvest time.

"Without the temperatures being extreme, I don't think there are any negatives," Sugar said. "It's just very warm and that stimulates the fruit size. This is the active cell division stage of fruit development. The temperatures favor more cells and then they plump up through the rest of the growing season."

Associated Fruit CEO Doug Lowry said the fruit size is good news, but no guarantee of a great outcome.

"It's a good early indicator, but we're still on the front end of things," Lowry said. "There are so many elements to take into consideration.

"There are a lot of storms that could come through and bring hail and that sort of thing."

Once concern, said Lowry, who operates orchards on 500 acres, was the late date for access to irrigation water following a relatively dry winter.

"So far, we're OK," he said.

— Greg Stiles

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