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Current Mechanical Harvesting Systems

Tractor Drawn Canopy Shake

The tractor drawn canopy shaker (T-CS), manufactured by Oxbo, utilizes a shaking head identical to the shaking unit on the self propelled CCSC. Shaker heads penetrate the canopy and vibrate up & down and side to side to remove fruit. During the 2004-05 season, a T-CS shook fruit to the ground and then utilized a hand crew to gather the fruit into traditional 10-box tubs. A field truck or goat would then dump the tubs and transport the fruit to the bulk trailers. A T-CS system travels between 1 and 2 mph down the row. Its daily use, however, is constrained by the availability of workers to pick-up the fruit.

A big advantage of a T-CS system over its self-propelled counterpart is that trees do NOT have to be skirted or grown within long rows of uniform sized trees. Since harvest workers do need ladders, labor productivity is improved by at least 2 fold (between 20-30 box/hr). In trees that yield between 3 and 3.5 boxes/tree, performance statistics for a T-CS average:

Removal: 95%
Recovery: 99% (pick-up crew gleans reachable fruit)
Machine speed: 300 400 trees/hr, assuming no downtime
Labor productivity: 20-30 bx/hour per member of pick up crew

For a more detailed explanation of performance measures, how they were defined and the data collected from field observations, see FDOC Annual Report 2003-04.

During the 2005-06 system, Oxbo introduced a pick-up machine to work in conjunction with the T-CS. The pick-up system should be fully operational by the 2006-07 season.