Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 13, 2013
Publication Date: February 14, 2013
Citation: Takeda, F. 2013. Mechanical harvesting of blueberries with extended shelf life: impact damage and suggestions for reducing bruise injury. Oregon Blueberry Conference, January 27-30, 2013, Portland, Oregon. http://berrygrape.org/. Technical Abstract: Southern highbush blueberries (SHB) (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) are mostly hand harvested for the fresh market. Hand harvesting of blueberry is labor intensive (over 500 hours/acre) and costly. With the uncertainty of labor availability in the near future, efforts are under way to develop blueberry genotypes that will develop less bruising after impact with hard surfaces on the harvesters. A key step to addressing this challenge is to advance the mechanical harvest technologies (Brown et al., 1996; Peterson et al., 1997). Commercial over-the-row blueberry mechanical harvesters improve labor productivity by nearly 60 times, while cutting the harvest cost by 85 percent. In the southeastern US, most mechanical harvesters are currently used for the processing market and not for harvesting fruit for fresh market because highbush blueberries that have been machine harvested lose firmness and become much softer than hand-harvested blueberries.