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, Brazilian citrus growers were able to deliver frozen concentrated orange juice to the port of Tampa, FL, for only $0.0757 more per pound solids than Florida growers. For these reasons, Florida has been working to develop mechanical harvesting technology

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test different mechanical-harvesting approaches for processing at a reasonable cost with low labor demand. Mechanical harvesting of table olives has been studied since 1975 ( Ferguson et al., 2012 ; Vega Macias et al., 2005 ; Zion et al., 2011

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-fold in labor efficiency and a cost reduction of ≈85% when using over-the-row mechanical blueberry harvesters. However, mechanical harvesting causes excessive fruit bruising ( Sargent et al., 2013 ) and harvest losses. Bruising occurs when berries hit

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Abstract

The research program on fruit crops at the University of Arkansas interrelates the areas of harvest mechanization, pre- and postharvest physiology and processing. This program is designed to serve a highly competitive, growing processing industry. Through cooperative research undertaken by the Departments of Horticultural Food Science and Agricultural Engineering, mechanical harvesters were developed for blackberries (refer HortScience 13:228-235) and strawberries (refer HortScience 13:000-000). Utilizing the principle of fruit abscission, blackberry fruit can be selectively mechanically harvested on a commercial basis at the rate of 1 acre per hour, while product quality is superior to hand-harvested fruit.

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Proper variety selection and production practices are critical to obtaining profitable yields of mechanically harvested pickling cucumbers (Cucumis sativus L.). On the Delmarva peninsula, the tractor-mounted harvester, which utilizes the pinch-roller system for separating the pickles from the vine, was used exclusively for harvest until 1998. The pull-type forced-balance shaker machines have been introduced as an alternative harvest system. Replicated commercial-size variety trials have been conducted for four consecutive years. The trials are planted twice during the growing season, reflecting the climactic differences associated with early-season and late-season plantings. `Vlaspic' and `Lafayette' are standard varieties. Promising new varieties include `EX 1914' and `SQRP 1882'. Investigations to determine optimum plant populations and row spacing have determined that three-row beds with 60,000 plants per acre provide the highest yields and best quality fruit. Optimal operating speeds and picking reel speeds of 1.4 mph and 45 rpm, respectively, have been determined for the tractor-mounted machine. Additional design improvements have been implemented and evaluated to reduce damage. Fifty-nine replicated commercial tests evaluating the tractor-mounted harvester and the forced-balance shaker type indicate much greater harvest and throughput efficiencies are associated with the forced-balance shaker harvester, resulting in improvements between $65 and $100 per acre.

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economical mechanical harvesting. Many compounds, other than ethylene, have also been studied as loosening agents for olive fruits, but many proved less efficient at reducing the force required for fruit removal ( Barranco et al., 2004 ; Ben-Tal, 1987

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Of the 193,000 ha of sweet oranges [ Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] grown commercially for juice in Florida ( Anonymous, 2008 ), 12,153 ha or ≈7% are mechanically harvested ( Florida Department of Citrus, 2008 ). The most common mechanical

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harvesting. Vibration or shaking is one of the widely used methods for mechanical harvesting of tree fruit crops. To obtain the fundamental information for mechanical harvesting with vibration, researchers analyzed limb stiffness ( Erdoğan et al., 2003

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). Advantages of mechanical harvesting include reduced harvesting costs by 20 to 40 cents per box, which reduces the dependence on seasonal laborers thereby making the harvesting procedure relatively easier and cost-effective. In the past 50 years, there has

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as 69% of the total direct eligible costs. This has led to the removal of a considerable number of olive groves and to the development of mechanical harvesting methods in traditional table olive farms ( Ferguson et al., 2010 ; Rallo et al., 2013a

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