only $0.0757 more per pound soluble solids than Florida growers. This discrepancy in production costs has been a major driving force in Florida's efforts to develop mechanical harvesting technology ( Florida Department of Citrus, 2010 ; Whitney, 1995
Timothy M. Spann, Luis V. Pozo, Igor Kostenyuk, and Jacqueline K. Burns
J. Touss, J. Lloveras, and A. Romero
Ethephon was applied at 0, 625, 1250, 1875, and 2500 m·gliter-1 in 2 consecutive years to `Arbequina' olive trees to determine its effect on fruit removal with mechanical harvesting and on fruit oil composition. Ethephon increased the mechanical harvesting efficiency by 20%. Ethephon at 1250 and 1875 mg·liter-1 were the optimum treatments, resulting in 63% and 66% of the olives being mechanically harvested, respectively, with a preharvest olive drop of 10% and 11%. Leaf drop (4.6 and 4.8 kg/tree fresh weight, respectively) at these concentrations did not reduce flowering the following year. Oil acidity, peroxide value, and fatty acid composition were affected little by ethephon and the values observed were within the range of normal annual variation. These results suggest that ethephon did not modify oil quality and that its use on traditionally pruned `Arbequina' trees is not economically justifiable. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon).
Shahrokh Khanizadeh, Michel J. Lareau, and Deborah Buszard
An experiment was conducted to evaluate the mechanical harvesting and processing suitability of four standard strawberry [Fragaria ×ananassa (Duch.)] cultivars (`Kent', `Glooscap', `Bounty', and `Midway') and the recent introductions `Chambly' and `Oka'. `Kent', `Glooscap', `Oka', and `Chambly' had the highest yields and heaviest fruit. Similar percentages of berries of all cultivars were destroyed by the harvester. `Oka' and `Midway' were not suitable for this type of mechanical harvesting due to their susceptibility to bruising during harvest. Based on total marketable fruit harvested mechanically, `Chambly' was the most and `Oka' was the least adapted cultivars for this particular harvester. `Chambly' and `Glooscap' were easiest to decap, followed by `Bounty', `Oka', and `Midway'. None of the cultivars tested were suited ideally for machine harvesting, and further breeding is required to produce well-adapted cultivars.
Kuo-Tan Li and James P. Syvertsen
Mechanical harvesting of citrus trees can cause physical injuries, such as shedding of leaves, exposing roots, and scuffing bark. Although mechanical harvesting usually has not reduced yield, physiological consequences to the tree from these visible injuries have not been investigated. We hypothesized that physical injuries to tree canopies and root systems from a properly operated trunk shaker would not cause short-term physiological effects. Tree water status and leaf gas exchange of mature `Hamlin' and `Valencia' sweet orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] trees that were harvested by a trunk shaker were compared to hand-harvested trees. A trunk shaker was operated with adequate duration to remove >90% of mature fruit or with excessive shaking time under various environmental conditions and drought stress treatments throughout the harvest season. Mid-day stem (Ψstem) and leaf (Ψleaf) water potentials along with leaf gas exchange were measured before and after harvest. Trees harvested by the trunk shaker did not develop altered water status under most conditions. Trees harvested with excessive shaking time and/or with limited soil water supply developed low Ψstem resembling Ψstem of drought-stressed trees. However, water potential of all treatments recovered to values of the well-irrigated, hand-harvested trees after rainfall. In addition, mechanical harvesting did not reduce CO2 assimilation, transpiration, stomatal conductance, water use efficiency, or photosystem II efficiency as measured by chlorophyll fluorescence. Thus, despite visible injuries, a properly operated trunk shaker did not result in any measurable physiological stress.
Muhammad Farooq, Masoud Salyani, and Jodie D. Whitney
Field experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of sprayer type, airflow rate, and nozzle output on deposition of active ingredient and mechanical harvesting of `Valencia' orange (Citrus sinensis). Fruit detachment force (FDF) and percentage of fruit removal (PFR) by trunk shaker were used as mechanical harvesting parameters. A PowerBlast sprayer discharging radially and a Titan sprayer discharging over the entire canopy were used. The spray mixture contained an abscission chemical (CMN-pyrazole), a surfactant (Kinetic) and a fluorescent tracer (Pyranine-10G). Deposition was determined at three different heights outside and inside of the canopy. With the PowerBlast, higher airflow and lower nozzle output reduced deposition of the active ingredient. The mean FDF of sprayed treatments was less than that of the non-sprayed control but the difference among the four spray treatments was not significant. The lower airflow rate with lower nozzle output had higher PFR than that of the control. With the Titan sprayer, the mean deposition at lower airflow was similar to or higher than the higher airflow. At higher airflow, the lower nozzle output gave higher mean deposition. The Titan sprayer treatments resulted in less FDF than the control. At both airflow rates, the FDF was less at lower nozzle output than at higher nozzle output. The PFR of these treatments were not different from that of control.
Kuo-Tan Li, Jim Syvertsen, and Jacqueline Burns
The shedding of leaves, branches, flowers, and young fruit; scuffing of bark; and exposed roots that are caused by trunk or canopy shakers during harvest appears to be unavoidable, but generally does not reduce long-term yields. Nonetheless, such visible injuries have limited the widespread adoption of mechanical harvesting in Florida's citrus industry. We determined if such physical injuries caused by a properly operated trunk shaker resulted in any physiological injures or any consequent decline in vigor and productivity of well-managed, healthy citrus trees. We continuously monitored various physiological indexes in mature `Hamlin' and `Valencia' orange trees annually harvested by hand or by a linear-type trunk shaker with various shaking durations. Trunk shaking did not reduce return bloom, fruit set, young fruit growth, or canopy and root growth. There was a correlation between the seasonal timing of a simulated bark injury and recovery from the injury. Although some root exposure was frequently observed during trunk shaking, leaf water relations and fine root growth were unaffected. There was no difference in leaf dry weight per area and leaf nitrogen among treatments. Mechanical and hand harvesting in late season `Valencia' during full bloom removed similar amounts of flowers. However, immature fruit were removed by trunk shaking when `Valencia' were harvested after mid-May, and the number of young fruit removal increased with shaking duration and fruit size. The loss of young fruit for the next crop remains a major problem of mechanical harvesting in late harvest `Valencia'.
Terence L. Robinson, William F. Millier, James A. Throop, Stephen G. Carpenter, and Alan N. Lakso
Mature `Empire' and `Redchief Delicious' apple trees (Malus domestica Borkh.) trained to a Y-shaped trellis (Y/M.26) or trained as pyramid-shaped central leaders (CL/M.7) were mechanically harvested with the Cornell trunk recoil-impact shaker during 4 years. With `Empire', fruit removal from the Y/M.26 trees (85% to 90%) was significantly less than from the CL/M.7 trees (95% to 97%). With `Delicious' there were no differences in fruit removal (90% to 95%) between the two tree forms in any year. When the catching pad was on the ground, fruit grade based on damage was only slightly better for the Y/M.26 trees than for the CL/M.7 trees. When the catching pad was raised up near the Y/M.26 canopy, fruit grade was significantly improved for the Y/M.26 trees and was better than the CL/M.7 trees. Fruit grade for both cultivars ranged from 83% to 94% Extra Fancy with 5% to 16% culls for the Y/M.26 trees and from 74% to 88% Extra Fancy and 11% to 21% culls for the CL/M.7 trees. Skin punctures, skin breaks, and number of large and small bruises were lower and the percentage of nondamaged fruit was higher with the Y/M.26 trees when the pads were close to the canopy than when the pads were on the ground. The CL/M.7 trees had higher levels of all types of fruit damage than did the Y/M.26 trees. Damaged fruit from the CL/M.7 trees was mainly from the top half of the tree, while fruit from lower-tier scaffold branches had low levels of damage. Mechanically harvested fruit from the Y/M.26 trees had lower incidences of fruit rot and flesh breakdown after a 6-month storage period than did fruit from the CL/M.7 trees. Stem pulling was high with both systems and averaged 60% for `Delicious' and 30% for `Empire'. The advantage of the single plane Y-trellis system for mechanical harvesting appears to be that the catching pads can be placed close to the fruit, thereby reducing fruit damage.
Stephanie J. Walker, Paul Funk, Israel Joukhadar, Tom Place, Charles Havlik, and Bradley Tonnessen
The New Mexico State University (NMSU) Agricultural Experiment Station announces the release of ‘NuMex Odyssey’, a New Mexican–type chile pepper ( Capsicum annuum ) cultivar that is efficient for mechanical harvest of green fruit. This cultivar is
Jacqueline K. Burns, Richard S. Buker III, and Fritz M. Roka
An abscission agent [5-chloro-3-methyl-4-nitro-1H-pyrazole (CMNP)] was applied to `Hamlin' and `Valencia' orange (Citrus sinensis) trees at concentrations ranging from 0 to 500 ppm in a volume of 300 gal/acre. Four days after application, fruit were mechanically harvested with either a trunk shake-and-catch or a continuous canopy shake-and-catch system commercially used in Florida. Harvesting conditions were varied by limiting the actual trunk shake time of the trunk shaker to 2, 4, or 7 seconds, or by altering the ground speed of the canopy shaker (1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 mph). In general, increasing duration of shake and the application of CMNP increased percent mature fruit removal and decreased the amount of fruit remaining in the tree. Increasing CMNP concentration decreased fruit detachment force but increased post-spray fruit drop. Comparison of short duration shake times in CMNP-applied trees with trees harvested at longer durations either sprayed or not sprayed with CMNP indicated no significant difference in percent mature fruit removal. The results demonstrate that CMNP application increases harvesting capacity of trunk and canopy shakers by reducing time necessary to harvest each tree while maintaining high percent mature fruit removal.
Jacqueline K. Burns, Fritz M. Roka, Kuo-Tan Li, Luis Pozo, and Richard S. Buker
An abscission agent (5-chloro-3-methyl-4-nitro-1H-pyrazole [CMNP]) at 300 mg·L–1 in a volume of 2810 L·ha–1 was applied to Valencia orange trees [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] on 22 May 2004. At this time, immature and mature fruit were present on the tree simultaneously. Three days after application, fruit were mechanically harvested using a trunk-shake-and-catch system. The power to the shaker head was operated at full- or half-throttle (FT or HT, respectively), and the duration of trunk shaking was 2 seconds at FT or 4 seconds at FT and HT. Mature fruit removal percentage and number of immature fruit removed, and fruitlet weight and diameter were determined. Mature fruit removal percentage with 2 seconds at FT or 4 seconds at FT harvesting ±CMNP, or 4 seconds at HT + CMNP was not significantly different and ranged between 89% to 97%. Harvesting at 4 seconds HT without CMNP removed significantly less mature fruit than any treatment. CMNP did not affect immature fruit removal by the trunk shaker. Harvesting at 4 seconds at HT removed significantly less immature fruit than 2 seconds at FT or 4 seconds at FT. No significant difference in fruitlet weight or diameter was measured between any trunk shaker harvest operation and CMNP treatment. Trunk shaking frequency was estimated to be 4.8 and 8.0 Hz at HT and FT, respectively. Yield in 2005 was determined on the same trees used for harvest treatments in 2004. CMNP did not impact yield. No significant difference in yield was seen between the hand-picked control and 4 seconds at HT, whereas yield in the remaining treatments was lower. The results demonstrate that CMNP application combined with low frequency trunk shaker harvesting can achieve high percentage of mature fruit removal with no significant impact on return yield of the following crop.