2018 - Volume #42, Issue #2, Page #25[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Mechanical Fruit Picker Roundup
Here are a few of the fresh fruit harvesters we found on the market.
Oxbo International manufactures equipment for many niche agricultural products and worked with Washington state researchers on developing surfaces to reduce bruised fruit. They sell SoftSurface kits that are suspended and fit on existing and new machines. www.oxbocorp.com
The Fulcrum Fresh Harvester, made by A&B Packing Equipment in Lawrence, Mich., features a wide 63-in. opening to minimize loss as the fruit goes into a tunnel. They say that with its design with horizontal rotary heads, and guide rails that lower the bush close to the sloped, padded harvesting beds for minimal drop makes it the ďmost gentle harvester available today.Ē However, unlike other harvesters that have overhead platforms to pack lugs, separate wagons are needed to pile the lugs of fruit. www.abpacking.com
Littau Harvester, Stayton, Ore., has more than 2,500 of its berry harvesters sold to producers throughout the world. The company tests equipment on its own farm and developed the True Orbit shaker head, with tines that twirl to create less shock on the plants and angled catch surfaces that reduce losses to 5 percent or less. With adjustable features itís versatile for a wide variety of fruits. www.littauharvester.com.
A couple of overseas companies have other ideas for equipment. BSK of Serbia uses blasts of air to pick fruit with the Kokan, a tow-behind harvester that doesnít have contact with the plants or bushes. With easy adjustments for the pulsating air jets velocity and frequency, and pneumatic pillows for soft landing, it can be used on a variety of fresh fruits. www.airharvesters.com
The Harvy 500, manufactured by FineField of the Netherlands, utilizes bendable brushes and workers who shake the blueberry bushes to drop the ripe fruit into a conveyor system that includes air to blow out debris before the berries fall gently into lugs and crates. Plans were to test them in British Columbia this year. www.finefield.nl
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