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Cost Savings Potential from Mechanical Harvesting Technologies

The cost to hand-harvest juice oranges in 2012 ranged between $1.90 a box for early-season oranges to more than $2.20 a box for late-season fruit. Under the grove conditions set up for mechanical harvesting trunk shaker systems reduced the combined pick and roadside costs by between 20 to 30 cents per box as compared to hand harvesting costs. The cost savings from mechanical harvesting included gleaning services. While citrus growers are rightfully concerned about restoring the health of their HLB-infected trees, the costs to grow and harvest citrus have been escalating significantly since 2006, and the cost savings potential from mechanical harvesting technologies can help Florida growers remain economically viable.

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