Help for Wisconsin fruit growers – Audio

Amaya Atucha Extension Fruit Specialist
Department of Horticulture
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Phone (608) 262-6452

3:00 – Total Time
0:16 – Cranberries to get attention
0:35 – Research cranberry roots & cold hardiness
1:03 – Grapes take off in Wisconsin
1:19 – Projects to help grape growers
1:44 – Grapes that work in Wisconsin
2:07 – Farm background
2:31 – Cold! Wisconsin’s biggest challenge
2:50 – Lead out


Sevie Kenyon: A fresh set of eyes for the Wisconsin fruit business, we are visiting today with Amaya Atucha, Department of Horticulture University of Wisconsin Madison – Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon. Amaya, you’re new to the state can you tell us what you’re going to be working on?

Amaya Atucha: I am the fruit crop specialist for the state and I’ll be working on all the fruit crops that are grown in the state, but mainly on cranberries and grapes as well; apples and cherries and berries in general, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Sevie Kenyon: What kind of projects do you have started?

Amaya Atucha: Right now I am focusing on some work on cranberries and on grapes. So on cranberries we are developing a project to look at how the root system of cranberries grows. The other projects that we are doing with cranberries is looking at cold hardiness, we are looking at how the cranberry plants are able to withstand the cold in the winter.

Sevie Kenyon: Amaya maybe I can get you to shift gears to the grape business here in Wisconsin, tell us a little bit about that.

Amaya Atucha: Grape growing in the state is blooming, there’s a lot of new vineyards and this is due to this new varieties these cold hardy varieties that are enabling states like Wisconsin to grow grapes to produce wine.

Sevie Kenyon: What kind of projects do you anticipate working on with the grape growers?

Amaya Atucha: So this new varieties, we don’t know how to grow them properly, so we are looking at training systems. We are looking at what should we do to improve the quality of the grapes so we can make better wines. So should we have more or less fruit on the vines? So that kind of work we are doing right now and we have a couple of studies going on at some of our research stations

Sevie Kenyon: Maybe you can give us a sense of the names of some of these varieties.

Amaya Atucha: Some of the most popular varieties of the hybrids are Marquette, Frontenac, La Crescent, LaCrosse, Brianna, all of these new varieties are the varieties grown here in Wisconsin and if people go to local wineries, they are going to drink some of this wine from these cold hearty varieties

Sevie Kenyon: Maya tell us where you’re from, a little bit about yourself.

Amaya Atucha: I am originally from Chile, I did my undergrad there I worked in horticulture, and my family has an avocado farm down there. I moved here to the states to do my PhD, I went to Cornell, and after graduating I accepted a position with Colorado State University and I worked two years there on peach production.

Sevie Kenyon: What do you think your biggest challenges are going to be working here in Wisconsin?

Amaya Atucha: Cold, cold is perhaps the biggest limitation for all the fruit crops. So most of my research is now been focusing on cold and cold management, and how can we find sustainable ways to protect fruit crops.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Amaya Atucha, Department of Horticulture University of Wisconsin Madison –Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon.