An instrumented sphere (IS) was used to identify high-impact areas on seven grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) packing lines in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The packing-line unit operations having the greatest percentage of high impacts were 1) the sizer, 2) when #2 fruit were separated by hand at the grading table, 3) when fruit were dumped from the harvest bin onto the packing line, and 4) when fruit dropped into a collection bin at the end of the packing line. The number of high impacts and the amount of cushioning in high-impact areas varied among the seven packing sheds. The amount of red dye visible on the surface of fruit collected from the end of each shed's packing line did not correspond with each shed's percentage of high impacts or with incidence of decay during fruit storage. The severity of impacts and degree of cushioning provided in these Texas packing sheds were comparable to that reported for 39 Florida packing houses. This study illustrates the usefulness of the IS for enhancing individual packing-line operations and for comparing individual shed performance to packing-line operations in other agricultural production regions.
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