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James L. Glancey, Edwin Kee and Tracy Wootten

The vegetable industry is important to our nation as a provider of nutritious and safe food directly consumed by our citizens. It is also critical to a rich and vigorous national agriculture. During the 20th century, engineering innovations coupled with advances in genetics, crop science, and plant protection have allowed the vegetable industry in the U.S. to plant and harvest significantly more land with higher yields while using less labor. Currently, fresh and processed vegetables generate 16% of all U.S. crop income, but from only 2% of the harvested cropland. Yet, many of the challenges in production that existed a century ago still exist for many crops. Perhaps the most significant challenge confronting the industry is labor, often accounting for 50% of all production costs. A case study of the mechanized production system developed for processed tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) confirms that systematic methodology in which the machines, cultural practices, and cultivars are designed together must be adopted to improve the efficiency of current mechanized systems as well as provide profitable alternatives for crops currently hand-harvested. Only with this approach will horticultural crop production remain competitive and economically viable in the U.S.

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Justin R. Morris

on mechanization in the vineyard to ensure market competition. Research has been conducted by the Enology and Viticulture Program, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, since 1966 on postharvest handling, adapting harvesters to different trellises

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Benedict C. Posadas, Patricia R. Knight, Randal Y. Coker, Christine H. Coker, Scott A. Langlois and Glenn Fain

survey of nursery and greenhouse automation and mechanization was conducted in the northern Gulf of Mexico region as a part of a research program undertaken by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Labor

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R. Karina Gallardo, Eric T. Stafne, Lisa Wasko DeVetter, Qi Zhang, Charlie Li, Fumiomi Takeda, Jeffrey Williamson, Wei Qiang Yang, William O. Cline, Randy Beaudry and Renee Allen

viable, new technology is needed to improve harvesting efficiency and make it economically feasible for blueberry producers to adopt. To elicit producer attitudes toward mechanized harvest for fresh-market blueberry, a survey was conducted over 2 years

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Stephanie J. Walker and Paul A. Funk

maintain and harvest their labor-intensive chile crops. Following the termination of the Bracero Program in 1964, chile producers and processors intensified efforts to mechanize field operations. The first documented trial of mechanical chile harvest was

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Benedict Posadas

tasks were performed by workers with significant number of nurseries using mechanized or automated systems in media preparation, filling containers with substrates, moving containers from potting to transport, transporting containers to field, plant

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Matthew W. Fidelibus

combination of technological advances and economic/social changes now favor the adoption of mechanized raisin-making practices ( Calvin and Martin 2010b ), which, in California’s climate, require cultivars that ripen earlier than ‘Thompson Seedless’. The

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Charles Mainland

Mechanized harvest for processing markets has become commercially accepted for blackberries (Rubus sp.), highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum), lowbush (V. angustifolium) and rabbiteye (V. ashei), blueberries, cranberries (V. macrocarpon), grapes (Vitus labruscana, V. vinifera, V. rotundifolia, V. sp.), raspberries (Rubus ideaus) and to a lesser extent for strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa). Fruit bruising during harvest and sorting often contributes to reduced “eye appeal” and keeping quality for fresh sales. Highbush and rabbiteye blueberries are successfully machine harvested for fresh markets, however, high temperature and rain will often make product quality unacceptable. Highbush blueberries grown in cool climates and rabbiteye blueberries with greater inherent resistance to bruising have most consistently given acceptable quality. Cultivar improvement and equipment that causes less bruising during harvest and sorting will be required for increased mechanization for fresh markets. Mechanical pruning of blackberries, blueberries, grapes and raspberries can reduce costs by up to 80%. The audience will be involved in discussion of advancements in mechanization techniques.

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Charles Mainland

Mechanized harvest for processing markets has become commercially accepted for blackberries (Rubus sp.), highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum), lowbush (V. angustifolium) and rabbiteye (V. ashei), blueberries, cranberries (V. macrocarpon), grapes (Vitus labruscana, V. vinifera, V. rotundifolia, V. sp.), raspberries (Rubus ideaus) and to a lesser extent for strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa). Fruit bruising during harvest and sorting often contributes to reduced “eye appeal” and keeping quality for fresh sales. Highbush and rabbiteye blueberries are successfully machine harvested for fresh markets, however, high temperature and rain will often make product quality unacceptable. Highbush blueberries grown in cool climates and rabbiteye blueberries with greater inherent resistance to bruising have most consistently given acceptable quality. Cultivar improvement and equipment that causes less bruising during harvest and sorting will be required for increased mechanization for fresh markets. Mechanical pruning of blackberries, blueberries, grapes and raspberries can reduce costs by up to 80%. The audience will be involved in discussion of advancements in mechanization techniques.

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K.C. Ting

Availability and capability of labor have become dominating factors affecting agriculture's productivity and sustainability. Agricultural mechanization can substitute for human and animal physical power and improve operational uniformity. Automation complements mechanization by implementing the capabilities of automatic perception, reasoning, communication, and task planning. Fixed automation is traditionally cost-effective for mass production of standard items. In addition, flexible automation responds to make-to-order batch processing. The appropriateness of each automation type depends on the situation at hand. Because of their vast memory and high calculation speed, computers are highly effective for rapid information processing. Incorporating state-of-the-art hardware and software, computers can generate status reports, provide decision support, gather sensor signals, and/or instruct machines to perform physical work. It is no surprise, therefore, that computerization is essential to the evolutionary process, from mechanization through fixed automation to flexible automation. Fundamentals of agricultural mechanization, automation, and computerization applied to greenhouse production are discussed. Recent research activities conducted at Rutgers Univ. are presented for illustrative purposes.