A proposal was funded in 2001 and renewed in 2002 by OFRF to study methods and begin the development of technologies for organic apple crop thinning. The work was coordinated by C. R. Rom at the University of Arkansas in conjunction with the Colorado Organic Crop Management Association (COCMA), organic fruit growers in Colorado, and research scientists at Colorado State University. Additional funding for the project were received from COCMA and Gerber Products. Subsequent related projects for laboratory and additional field testing in Washington was funded in part by the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. Overhead and additional project expenses were contributed by the University of Arkansas and Colorado State University.
The objectives of the funded proposed project research were:
1. To survey and evaluate current methods for fruit thinning and crop load regulation used by certified organic apple growers.
2. To test various crop load regulating treatments to thin fruit, encourage fruit size development and return bloom in apple.