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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Travis Robert Alexander, Jaqueline King, Edward Scheenstra and Carol A. Miles

lacks large commercial-scale fruit production systems and the labor force and skillset that come with them ( Thilmany, 2001 ). Recognizing the need for a mechanical harvest system that could function in Washington cider apple orchards and the potential

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Fumiomi Takeda, Gerard Krewer, Elvin L. Andrews, Benjamin Mullinix Jr and Donald L. Peterson

hedging equipment and mechanical harvesting systems have been developed [e.g., Advanced Blueberry Concepts, Holland, MI; Blueberry Equipment Inc. (BEI), South Haven, MI; OXBO (Korvan) International Corp., Lynden, WA; Littau Harvester, Stayton, OR; and

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Tong Geon Lee, Samuel F. Hutton and Reza Shekasteband

uncertainty about trained laborers ( California Tomato Growers Association, 2015 ; Florida Tomato Committee, 2018 ; USDA, 2016 ) force the fresh-market tomato industry to seek a mechanical harvesting system to reduce dependence on farm labor. Most of the U