More On Orchard Mechanization

More On Orchard Mechanization

More On Orchard Mechanization. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Fruit Grower Report.

Yesterday we heard from WSU’s Karen Lewis who recently spoke at the annual Hort convention on orchard thinning and harvest mechanization.Mechanical thinning has come a long way with more and more propelled and hand held machines coming to the market. But when it comes to harvest she says it been all about labor.

LEWIS: We’ve asked them to pick an apple based on color, size or whatever else. Clip the stem; don’t clip the stem, whatever. Put it into the bag and take it down to the bin. Doing it the same way we’ve been doing it since way, way long ago. So that’s a lot.

Full harvest mechanization is still a dream but there are way to assist with machines that can increase production and cut down on man-hours.

LEWIS: So the opportunity to run two shifts a day. The opportunity to cover your capital costs and it’s also quite enjoyable picking in the cooler times of the night. It’s an opportunity when you put lights on the system.

Most of the new harvest assist machines are vacuum machines meaning there is less wasted movement and time when it comes to dumping heavy bags of fruit. But like any new enterprise there are a lot of great ideas coming from a lot of different companies locally and across the U.S.

LEWIS: So that’s all very exciting that we have this many people participating in Washington and we have small businesses, this is not John Deere. These are not big companies. These are small companies. These are individuals and small groups of people that are taking high risks to build something that we can apply in our industry.

That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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