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Mass Harvesters :: Trash Removal System Development


A pull behind platform with trash removal ability and fruit cleaning system was designed and built for mechanical harvesters. The overall system consisted of a pinch cleaner, blower, and yield monitors that aids in cleaning and removal of trash, and yield estimation during the mechanical harvesting process. This system has the ability to clean the entire fruit load from a hauling “goat truck” and completely remove all non-fruit trash. In addition, the system is also capable of measuring the amount of trash and yield (based on mass-flow). In addition to these components, an extended de-stemmer was also designed and fabricated to be used with mechanical harvesters. Preliminary studies showed that the extended de-stemmer has a removal efficiency of 50% for petioles less than 2 inches and 86% for petioles longer than 2 inches.


  1. The systems have recently been field-tested to evaluate their performance. It was observed that the de-trasher eliminated all the trash from the mechanically harvested citrus fruits thus obtaining a cleaner fruit load.

Key Findings (Updated on 07/10):

The recent citrus black spot (CBS) disease outbreak has required that trucks carrying fruit be tarped. Since the new pull-behind trash removal machine can completely remove leaves from the load of fruit, tarping is not needed. Tarping is used to prevent CBS-infected leaves from spreading to other groves during transit, and is an expensive and potentially hazardous process.

The pull behind platform can aid in cleaning the trash and fruits associated with mechanical harvesting, and reduce processing costs.

Activities Planned for 2010-2011

The extended de-stemmer removed about 4% more trash (by weight) than the regular de-stemmer. However, further experiments are needed to validate these findings. It is anticipated higher trash removal efficiency can be achieved.

Publications and Extension Products


Annual Progress Report 2009-2010

Savary, S. K. J. U. , R. Ehsani, M. Salyani, and M.A. Hebel. Study of force distribution in citrus tree canopy during harvesting using a canopy shaker. 21 pages. Journal of Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. (Submitted May 2010)

Ehsani, R. and D. Karimi. Yield Monitors for Specialty Crops. 14 pages. Special issue of the Journal of Computer and Electronic in Agriculture. (Submitted August 2009)

Ehsani, R. Mechanization and Productivity Aides for Crop Production and Harvesting: The Status of Mechanization for Citrus. 10 pages. Special issue of the Journal of Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. (Submitted March 2009).

Bansal, R., W.S. Lee, R. Shankar, and R. Ehsani. Automated trash estimation in a citrus canopy shake and catch harvester using machine vision. 36 Pages. Journal of Computers and Electronics in Agriculture.

Non-refereed Publications:

Ehsani, R., and S. Udumala. 2010. Mechanical harvesting of citrus. Resource. May/June: pp. 4-6.

Maja, J. M. and R. Ehsani. 2009. Development of a new load-cell based yield monitor for citrus. Proceedings of the Symposium on the Applications of Precision Agriculture for Fruits and Vegetables International Conference. ISHS, Acta Horticulturae 824: 267-274.

Patil, R., W. S. Lee, R. Shankar and R. Ehsani. 2009. Detection and Elimination of Trash using Machine Vision and Extended De-Stemmer for a Citrus Canopy Shake and Catch Harvester. Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (Florida Section Meeting). Daytona Beach, FL. FASAE Paper No. FL09-129.

Ehsani, R. 2009. Maximizing field efficiency of farm machinery using GPS data. Citrus Industry. July: pp. 10-11.


Ehsani, R. (Presenter) "Current Machinery and Machine Enhancement for Mechanical Harvesting of Citrus ", Immokalee, FL. Dec. 8, 2009.

Ehsani, R. (Presenter) "Current Machinery and Machine Enhancement for Mechanical Harvesting of Citrus ", Ft. Pierce, FL. Sep. 24, 2009.

Ehsani, R. (Presenter) "Automation and Mechanical Harvesting for Fruit Production", University of Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan, July 14, 2009.

For more information

Reza Ehsani

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