Submitted to: Concise Encyclopedia of Temperate Zone Tree Fruits
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 21, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Harvest of deciduous tree fruit crops remains an expensive, labor-intensive task despite advances in the engineering and design of mechanical harvesters. Most hand harvesting requires the use ladders and special containers for individual pickers to collect the fruit. As with mechanical harvesting, bruising is the primary damage associated with hand harvested fruit. Care must be exercised in removing fruit from the tree and pickers should be instructed in the proper techniques of picking and the use of a ladder at the beginning of each season. Mobile platforms provide a suitable harvest aid, which can increase worker efficiency in harvesting, but such devices are limited to certain planting systems and orchard terrain. Shake-and-catch is the predominate method used for mechanical harvesting tree fruits. Current mechanical harvesters are limited to fruit for processing, and are used primarily for tart cherries and cling peaches. .Recent research using robotics and trellis trained trees that are compatible with mechanical designs has shown promise in achieving mechanical harvesting of fresh market quality tree fruits.