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History of Mechanical Citrus Harvesting
1990 to 2008

Fruit Pickup Machines

AMI For the 1996-97 season, AMI (Agricultural Machines, Inc., Avon Park, FL) designed, built, & operated a self-propelled fruit pickup machine (See Photo, Video) behind the redesigned USDA canopy shaker. In field tests (4-1), the machine had a capacity of 15 to 20 t/h at 97% efficiency & caused 3 to 7% split peels from handling. The pickup machine was later mounted on a Pixall bean harvester chassis for further testing, but development was discontinued.

Older design machines - Because of the large labor contingent needed to follow monoboom trunk shakers, pull behind continuous travel canopy shakers, & gleaning following other mechanical harvesters with catchframes, there was interest in developing feasible mechanical fruit pickup machines to replace these manual harvesters. Beginning in the 1999-2000 season, the FDOC funded refurbishing the self-propelled fruit windrow rake (See Photo) & pull behind fruit pickup machine (See Photo) (4-2) manufactured & sold by FMC (Ocoee, FL) in the 1970s. Also funded was the construction of a dripline fruit windrow rake (See Photo) (4-3) & pickup machine (See Photo) (4-4) developed by the USDA at the Lake Alfred CREC in the 1980s. Both of these mechanical fruit pickup systems were offered for lease but were used very little because of the lack of grove preparation, inexperience with the proper operation of the machines, a combination of these 2 factors, & other factors.

Oxbo - Oxbo International Corp (Clear Lake, WI) also started design work on a direct fruit pickup machine & a prototype was field tested in the 2005-06 season (4-5). Pickup efficiencies in oranges ranged from 80 to 97% at pickup rates of 256 to 432 lb/min. Oxbo has continued to develop & improve the performance of the machine (See Photo, Video).

Referenced Articles

4-1 Field Test Results with Mechanical Harvesting Equipment in Florida Orangess
4-2 Mechanical Systems to Harvest Citrus Fruit for Juice Processing Plants in Florida
4-3 A Tractor-Drawn Rake for Oranges
4-4 A Direct-Loading, Offset Pickup Machine for Citrus
4-5 Field Evaluation of a Citrus Fruit Pick-Up Mach

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