Title: MECHANICAL HARVESTER FOR FRESH MARKET QUALITY BLUEBERRIES
Brown, Galen - FLORIDA RES & EDUC CENTER
Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 10, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Hand harvesting of blueberries is labor intensive, and the availability of a dependable labor force is a concern of the fruit industry. Commercial mechanical harvesters designed for processed blueberries do not yield quality required by the fresh market. A prototype harvester was jointly developed with a commercial company that utilizes a unique shaker, cane positioning system, and padded catching surfaces to harvest blueberries of quality nearly equal to hand harvesting. Preliminary field evaluation demonstrated good selectivity, capacity, and minimum damage to the canes. Continued refinements in 1995 should lead to commercial production in 1996. This development will help ensure that high quality fresh blueberries are available to the consumers.
An experimental harvester was developed that utilizes a unique shaker, cane dividing and positioning system, and padded catching surfaces to harvest blueberries. Field evaluation demonstrated selectivity and recovery as good as a commercial "rotary" harvester but with significantly higher fruit quality. The experimental harvester caused minimal damage to the blueberry canes.