Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Florida citrus industry: Mechanical harvesting creates up to 250 percent more debris than hand harvesting, study finds

Date:
March 1, 2011
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Harvesting can account for as much as 50 percent of the production cost for Florida's citrus crops. In a recent research study debris samples were collected from three harvesting systems; results indicated that mechanical harvesting increased debris per load by as much as 250 percent compared with hand-harvested fruit. The study results will aid growers in evaluating the costs and benefits of mechanical harvesting techniques as well as engineers who design debris elimination systems for mechanical harvesting.

This is an example of the type of large debris that can occur when citrus is mechanically harvested.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Timothy M. Spann

Harvesting is an expensive enterprise for Florida's important citrus industry. In fact, harvesting can account for as much as 50% of the production cost for citrus crops. To improve production and decrease costs associated with hand harvesting, Florida's researchers and citrus producers have been working for decades to develop cost-effective mechanical harvesting technologies.

Related Articles


In a new study in HortScience, Timothy M. Spann and Michelle D. Danyluk from the University of Florida's Citrus Research and Education Center, designed experiments to determine the amount and types of debris in mechanically harvested loads of sweet oranges compared with hand-harvested controls. The research yielded data that will be valuable for evaluating the costs and benefits of mechanical harvesting, and should assist agricultural engineers working to develop debris removal systems for mechanical harvesting machines.

Although mechanical harvesting is advantageous to many in the citrus industry, the technology is not without its drawbacks. Orange juice processors report that mechanical removal of leaves, twigs, and branches results in more debris being delivered to processing plants. "Any increase in debris entering the processing plant increases operational costs as a result of machine damage, labor to remove the debris, and disposal costs," explained Spann.

Spann and Danyluk collected debris samples from three different harvest systems: hand harvesting (control), continuous travel canopy shake and catch harvesting system, and tractor-powered continuous travel canopy shake harvester. Study results indicated that mechanical harvesting increased the amount of debris per load of fruit by as much as 250% compared with hand-harvested fruit. In addition, the amount of sand on the surface of mechanically harvested fruit that was picked up from the orchard floor was found to be up to 10 times greater compared with hand-harvested controls.

The researchers found that fruit harvested with the tractor-drawn 3210 system had the most debris of any harvest system. According to the researchers, this finding is counterintuitive. "Fruit harvested by this system are dropped to the ground and picked up by hand and, therefore, should be very clean," they explained. "However, hand labor crews are usually paid per box of fruit harvested, giving them an incentive to move quickly. Thus, many laborers working with the (3210) system will tend to sweep fruit from the orchard floor into their picking sacks rather than picking up individual pieces of fruit and in so doing collect large quantities of debris."

The outcomes of the research will be useful to engineers who work to design debris elimination systems for mechanical harvesting systems, and for economic analyses of the costs of mechanical harvesting. The team noted that tree management practices that may prevent debris from entering the harvesting stream should also be investigated.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Timothy M. Spann, Michelle D. Danyluk. Mechanical Harvesting Increases Leaf and Stem Debris in Loads of Mechanically Harvested Citrus Fruit. HortScience, 2010: 1297-1300 [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Florida citrus industry: Mechanical harvesting creates up to 250 percent more debris than hand harvesting, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118101614.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2011, March 1). Florida citrus industry: Mechanical harvesting creates up to 250 percent more debris than hand harvesting, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118101614.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Florida citrus industry: Mechanical harvesting creates up to 250 percent more debris than hand harvesting, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118101614.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) 3-D printing helps another two-legged dog run around with his four-legged friends. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the adorable video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins