SPONSOR AGENCY: USDA NIFA (SCRI) and Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission
Lewis*, K.M.; DBR Conveyor Concepts
Mechanized harvest is a documented priority for the Washington State tree fruit industry. The goal of this project is to design, build and evaluate a commercial prototype harvest assist system in Washington State apple orchards. DBR Conveyor Concepts of Conklin, MI. have recently developed vacuum tube, decelerator and dry bin filler harvest assist technologies. The technologies will be integrated on a mobile platform and will be evaluated in Washington apple orchards. Initial focus will be on the function and design of individual components and the total system. As warranted, redesign and component modifications will be made throughout field validation phase.
Validation studies will include:
- Location of impacts that have potential to bruise fruit
- Incidence and type of bruising
- System efficiency and individual worker productivity alone and compared to identical work conducted with ladders and bags.
Identification and documentation of best management practices will be included in outreach efforts.