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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2, Page #20
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EasyPick Cart Boosts Berry, Veggie Picking Productivity

Hand picking produce can be a real pain, but Greg Naber's pickers have it made in the shade. Thanks to his comfortable, shaded cart, they pick strawberries faster and better than conventional pickers ever could.
"We would never consider going back to people on foot picking berries," says Naber. "On our operation, we have seen a minimum of 30 percent savings on labor. Kids who normally mess around will pick steady, and there is no question about who picked the row or how well. We have a crew of seven on one machine, and they can work eight to nine hours a day, six days a week, and it's not a problem."
Naber began work on his "EasyPick Harvest Assistant" more than eight years ago. In addition to five acres of strawberries, Naber runs a welding and machine fabrication business. Over a few years time, he modified and improved the EasyPick, replacing the chain reduction drive with planetary drives and increasing engine horsepower. A year ago, he began limited marketing of the EasyPick with a two-row Economy model for smaller growers and four-row and larger machines for larger producers. The Economy model, with its single wheel drive, sells for $5,660. A six-station 2-wheel drive machine sells for $17,800. Options include 4-WD on-board conveyers and as many stations as are needed.
Regardless of size, the basic design remains the same. Pickers stretch out on a pad over the row. An adjustable head rest takes pressure off the neck. A carrying tray holds containers to be filled, while a storage rack beneath the picker's pad holds trays as they are filled. At a break point in the rows, the operator stops the machine, and all filled trays slide off for transport to storage.
"Units can be modified to hold different size boxes, and it is even possible to have a conveyor set up to load a trailer pulled behind the EasyPick," explains Naber.
On all machines an operator/picker controls speed and direction. Naber suggests assigning your best person to operate the machine. Larger models have a guidance system that automatically follows the row of plants or the furrow. On the Economy model, a toggle switch adjusts the hydraulic steering system.
"Using hydraulics eliminates the jerking you get with a mechanical system when the wheels go over an obstruction," explains Naber. "The hydrostatic drive makes it easy to make slight adjustments in speed on the go. We can vary speed from 2 in./min. to 120 ft./min."
An overhead shade keeps both pickers and berries cool and shelters them both from rain.
The EasyPick is a very flexible machine and can be used for picking a variety of bed and row crops from strawberries to asparagus, cucumbers and snap beans. It can also be used for weeding, blossom removal and any situation where bending and kneeling is required. In addition, the machine can be adjusted quickly with seats for planting and transplanting.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Greg Naber, Naber's Ag Equipment LLC, 1711 Road 12, York, Neb. 68467 (ph 402 728-5235 or 402 366-6322; email: info @nabersequipment.com; website: nabers equipment.com.)
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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #2