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
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
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
Donald L. Peterson
Hand-harvesting fruit crops is labor-intensive, and the supply of dependable, skilled labor is a concern of the fruit industry. Only a small portion of all fruit crops is harvested mechanically, primarily for processing. Public funding of mechanical harvesting research on fruit crops has reached a low level. However, there is renewed interest in mechanical harvesting research due to the potential scarcity of hand-harvest labor and new federal laws that may deplete further the labor pool. Much of the research expertise in mechanical harvesting of fruit crops has been lost, since most projects have been discontinued. Considerable lead time will be required to develop facilities, personnel, and projects if the decision is made to initiate publicly funded harvest mechanization research. More time will be required before commercially acceptable techniques and methods will be available. A majority of the research described in this paper was conducted outside the United States. The United States will not remain competitive in the world market for fruit crops with the present lack of mechanical harvesting research.
James L. Glancey and W. Edwin Kee
Production and harvesting systems for processing vegetables have been highly mechanized, however, field efficiencies are generally low, and high field losses and fruit damage continue to limit profits for several crops. By comparison, the number of fresh market crops currently machine harvested is small, and research to develop new harvesting technology for these crops is limited. Current mechanization research includes improvements to existing production systems, development of harvesters for crops currently hand-harvested, and the integration of new technologies into current (and future) production systems. Mechanical harvester-based production systems are evolving that reduce field losses and fruit damage, improve recovery, and decrease the foreign materials in the harvested product. However, improved cultural production systems and crop varieties that are adapted for once-over machine harvest are needed. An integrated approach in which crop characteristics along with planting, cultivating, and harvesting techniques are considered will be necessary to develop profitable and highly efficient alternatives to hand-harvest production. The integration of new technologies including differential global positioning systems (DGPS), automatic machine guidance, and computer-based vision systems offers significant performance benefits, and is a substantial component of current vegetable production and harvesting research in the U.S. In time, as the costs of these technologies decline, commercial adoption of these new methods is expected to increase.
Justin R. Morris
Mechanization of harvesting, pruning, and other cultural operations on many small fruit crops for the processing market has occurred in response to the scarcity and expense of hand labor. Scientists at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and other experiment stations in the United States and throughout the world have developed new cultural and fruit-handling systems and have determined the effects of these systems on fruit yield and quality. This research has resulted in the development of prototype and commercial machinery as well as production and handling systems that have assisted in mechanization systems for brambles, strawberries (Fragaria×ananassa Duch.), and grapes (Vitis sp.). Much of this body of work is in commercial use and much is simply available, awaiting circumstances that will be beneficial to implementation.
Jeffrey G. Williamson and William O. Cline
.E. 1977 Comparison of harvest methods of rabbiteye blueberries J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 102 454 456 Ballinger, W.E. Kushman, L.J. 1971 Light transmittancy versus sizing as a means of sorting blueberries for quality. Highbush Blueberry Mechanization Symp
Deciduous tree fruit crops such as apple (Malus domestica), peach (Prunus persica), and sweet cherry (Prunus avium) are not mechanically harvested for the fresh market. Attempts to mechanically harvest these fruits by mass removal techniques have not been successful due to excessive fruit damage caused during detachment, fall through the canopy, and collection. Robotic harvesters have not been commercially accepted due to insufficient fruit recovery. A U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) harvesting concept shows promise for harvesting both fresh market quality apples and sweet cherries. Successful mechanical harvesting of fresh market quality deciduous tree fruit will only occur when plant characteristics and machine designs are integrated into a compatible system. Cultivar characteristics that would facilitate machine harvesting are uniform fruit maturity at harvest, firm fruit that are resistant to mechanical damage, and compact growth habit that produces fruit in narrow canopies and on short/stiff limbs. Engineers must develop new detachment principles that minimize the energy input to effect fruit detachment, and develop durable energy-absorbing catching surfaces/conveyors to eliminate damage during collection of the fruit. As technology advances, sorting and sizing systems might be developed that can be operating on the harvester to eliminate culls in the field and deliver only fresh market quality fruit to the packers.
F. Serquen and J. Staub
Sex expression (SE), stem length (SL), and number of laterals plant (NL) are important morphological traits of a cucumber plant ideotype adapted for machine harvesting. Two inbred lines, the determinate, gynoecious G-421, possessing high fruit quality, and the monoecious H-19, with multiple lateral branching and sequential fruiting habit, and their F1 and F3 (100) progenies were planted in Wisconsin and Georgia. Data on SE, SL, and NL were recorded on individual plant basis. Genetic parameters were estimated using all generations. Phenotypic correlations were calculated from the trait means, and genotypic correlations were estimated from the analysis of variance of F3 progeny. The additive genetic variance was the highest of the variance components for SL and NL. Dominance genetic variance was more important than the additive variance for the control of SE. Narrow-sense heritability were 0.41, 0.83, and 0.85 for SE, SL, and NL, respectively. The genotypic (g) and phenotypic (p) correlation coefficients (r) indicated negative association between SE and SL (r g = –0.57, r p = –0.45**) and between SE and NL (r g = –0.56, r p = –0.27**). The association between SL and NL was positive (r g = 0.63, r p = 0.35**). Results suggest that gain from selection can be made for this plant ideotype.
Justin R. Morris
Mechanization—History. The earliest research on vineyard mechanization was a study involving harvesting at the University of California (UC), Davis, in the early 1950s ( Winkler et al., 1957 ). Researchers developed trellises that positioned the grapes to hang
Michele R. Warmund, Andrew K. Biggs, and Larry D. Godsey
facilitate sorting, harvest time with the Maxi Vac was less than that of the Nut Wizard. Although the Maxi Vac is relatively inexpensive as compared with other mechanized harvest equipment, it is an additional cost for those who lack financial resources as