Chukar Orchard

Benton County, Washington

Years in Operation:
20 years

Leading Harvest Program User:
UBS Farmland Investors LLC and Gilbert Orchards; Gilbert Orchards farms 3,600 acres of tree fruit including the Chukar Orchard which is enrolled in Leading Harvest.

Size of Operation:
1,184 gross acres; 823 planted acres

Crop Type:
Apples, Cherries, Wine grapes

Objective 4. Crop Protection

To achieve crop protection objectives while protecting people and the environment.


Integrated Pest Management:
Standard users shall protect crops against pests by implementing an Integrated Pest Management program that uses regional agricultural best management practices to achieve crop protection objectives.

Indicator 4.1.2. Crop Protection:
A process for preventing excessive crop loss from pests, crop protectant resistance and buildup and spread of pests.

Indicator 4.1.3. Pest Control Practices:
Prioritization of the use of lowest risk, most selective treatment options to achieve crop protection goals whenever appropriate.

Leading Harvest Indicators at Work

  • Gilbert Orchards addresses the pressures of pest and disease in order to meet the standards of the fresh market. In order to accomplish this, Gilbert uses many of the principles of organic farming to address pest challenges on all of its orchards.
  • Gilbert’s method of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) minimizes the need for aggressive sprays through preservation of beneficial insects. In practice, this begins with comprehensive monitoring of all insects in the orchard, and taking care not to hurt the predators that hunt harmful pests. Gilbert’s managers and consultants use traps, microscopes, and the naked eye to find, document and report on populations such as ladybugs, spiders, and lacewings.
  • Gilbert’s prevents buildup of the harmful pest known as codling moth by using a method known as mating disruption, that uses the scent of a female moth to confuse and disorient the would-be father moths. Additionally, in 2020 Gilbert participated in a pilot program for releasing sterile codling moths in an organic orchard with a history of pest pressure, and were able to eliminate crop damage, while also reducing the sprays required.

“Did you know?”

  • Gilbert Orchards is a tree-fruit company based in Yakima, Washington which has been farming for 5 generations (123 years) because those before the Gilberts took great care of the orchards.
  • Sean Gilbert has been farming with his family since he was a young boy growing up on an apple farm outside Wapato, Washington. Shortly after getting a degree in History from Pomona College in 2003, Sean returned home to start a winery called Gilbert Cellars, while concurrently working in the family’s orchard and warehouse business, with an early focus on shipping and marketing. In 2018, Sean took over as President of Gilbert Orchards from his father, Cragg. Sean has served on various industry boards and most recently was the chairman of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association from 2018-2020.