Mechanical Harvesting of Peppers

in HortScience
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  • 1 USDA/ARS, Fruit and Vegetable Harvesting Unit, Farrall Agricultural Engineering Dept., Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI 48824-1323.

For nearly 30 years, more than 75 different groups: producers, entrepreneurs, engineers, processors, consultants, state or federal researchers, or manufacturers have constructed over 195 harvesters attempting to mechanize the harvest of Capsicum peppers. Countries testing experimental harvesters include: Bulgaria, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Spain, the United States, and the former Soviet Union. Over 25 principles have been tested. In 1980, there were 10 different university, state, or federal research agencies experimenting with pepper harvest mechanization. However, in 1990, there were no active mechanization projects. At least 13 patents have been identified that have been issued on pepper harvesters and 65 patents on harvesting elements or principles for other crops that have been tested or might be used to harvest peppers. Interest in mechanization has resumed in the United States and a number of commercial harvesters are available. Harvester usage is expected to increase significantly by the year 2000.

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