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Open access

C. M. Mainland, L. J. Kushman, and W. E. Ballinger


On 15 occasions, either Wolcott, Jersey, Morrow or Murphy cultivars of highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) were harvested by commercial hand-pickers and over-the-row mechanical harvesters in eastern NC during 1970 and 1971. Compared with hand-harvesting, machine-harvesting reduced yield of marketable ripe fruit 19 to 44%. Compared with commercially hand-harvested fruit, machine-harvested fruit was 10 to 30% softer in compression tests; and when held for 7 days at 21°C, the fruit developed 11 to 41% more decay. Machine-harvested fruits sorted on a commercial cleaner were softened still more and developed 5 to 10% more decay than fruit mechanically harvested but not sorted.

Fifty times as many canes were damaged by mechanical harvesting as by hand-harvesting.

Free access

Dale E. Marshall

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.

Free access

S.P. Vander Kloet and J. Pither

Periodic prescribed burns of lowbush blueberry barrens promote high yield, aid in weed control, and reduce fungal and insect damage. Whether such prescribed fires should be set in the autumn or the spring has been a matter of some dispute. Previous research on Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton suggested some advantages to autumnal burning, but few data have been collected on V. myrtilloides Michaux. To evaluate whether time of burning affected plant qualities most favorable for mechanical harvesting, such as stem length and lateral branching, a series of experiments was conducted on V. myrtilloides. Differences in stem length, numbers of lateral branches, and buds per stem were nonsignificant among plants burned in fall vs. those burned in spring. In three of four experiments, however, fall burns resulted in the growth of fewer lateral branches. Furthermore, among the four experiments, growth responses were more uniform following fall than following spring burns. We therefore suggest that, where possible, fall burns should be prescribed for blueberry plants that will be mechanically harvested.

Open access

J. R. Morris, D. L. Cawthon, and J. W. Fleming


Temperature of fruit of Vitis labrusca L. cv. Concord at harvest was the primary factor governing the rate of postharvest quality changes. Fruit harvested at mid-day at 32°C remained at that temperature inside a bulk pallet box for 72 hours, regardless of diurnal temperature fluctuations. Without addition of SO2, alcohol concentration steadily increased after 12 hours holding the mechanically-harvested grapes in a bulk pallet box and reached 3% after 72 hours. Loss of soluble solids began immediately after harvest and after 72 hours, 44% of the soluble solids present at the time of harvest had been lost. Addition of S02 at harvest or no later than 6 hours after harvest aided in slowing postharvest deterioration. The addition of 80 or 160 ppm SO2 to a bulk pallet box of grapes mechanically harvested at a temperature of 35° was as effective in retarding postharvest deterioration of the quality attributes determined in this study as was harvesting at 24°. Harvesting at a cool temperature (24°) and SO2 addition will allow for extended holding of the raw product with minimal alcohol production and raw product quality loss.

Free access

Herbert D. Stiles

Three different “shift-trellises” were designed to localize the fruiting zone and to separate it-from vegetative structures. This allows efficient manual harvests by making berries more visible and easier to reach. It improves the quality of manual harvest conditions by reducing human contact with thorns (i.e., prickles).

Better definition of the fruiting zone's dimensions and location, important factors in mechanical harvesting, is possible with these systems. One system allows horizontal placement of the fruiting zone as in the Lincoln Canopy System, but with an inverted orientation of the fruiting shoots. Inverted orientation of fruiting shoots will shorten the distance to the mechanical harvester's collector surface. This changed juxtaposition among trellis components, floricanes and fruiting shoots will eliminate most obstacles against which berries might impinge during their fall to the collector surface. A new kind of agitator may be required to effect fruit removal in this system.

Open access

C. E. Gambrell Jr., E. T. Sims Jr., G. E. Stembridge, and W. H. Rhodes


SADH, applied as postbloom sprays to 9 peach cultivars in a series of experiments from 1964 to 1969, accelerated maturation and reduced the number of pickings required for most cultivars. Although SADH did not affect the number of fruits per tree, yield, or fruit size, it advanced the maturity date of ‘Ranger’ as much as a week; that of ‘Blake’ 4 days. ‘Cardinal’, an early cultivar, was not noticeably affected by SADH applied at different stages of development. SADH caused fruit to abscise more readily from the stem and left less fruit remaining on the trees when harvested mechanically. SADH had no detrimental influence on ‘Redglobe’ peaches stored at 50°F for 3 weeks. These effects support the feasibility of using SADH as an aid in mechanically harvesting freestone peaches intended for fresh market.

Free access

Rosana Moreno, Diego S. Intrigliolo, Carlos Ballester, Cruz Garcerá, Enrique Moltó, and Patricia Chueca

could reduce the total costs in 30% to 35% ( Juste et al., 2000 ). Mechanical harvest with continuous canopy or trunk shakers has been used in citrus areas of Florida for years ( Roka et al., 2014a , 2014b ), where 95% of the orange crop is destined to

Full access

Stephanie J. Walker and Paul A. Funk

was followed by a number of additional trials performed by chile growers, processors, and small-scale equipment manufacturers who implemented their own designs or improvements on subsequent designs to strive for more efficient mechanical harvest

Free access

Mark E. Uchanski and Adam Blalock

to stay competitive with domestic and foreign markets. Labor costs have created a shift toward less costly mechanical harvest ( Funk and Walker, 2010 ). Reducing labor inputs by using mechanical harvest technology is one way that New Mexico producers

Open access

Tong Geon Lee, Reza Shekasteband, Naama Menda, Lukas A. Mueller, and Samuel F. Hutton

jointed pedicel tomatoes involves the manual removal of any attached stems from fruit, but jointless pedicels are an essential component for maintaining fruit quality and marketability in cultivars intended for mechanical harvest ( Scott et al., 2013