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Agriculture, Volume 10, Issue 1 (January 2020) – 27 articles
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Cover Story (view full-size image) This article describes current project progress to increase blueberry packout to acceptable levels [...] Read more. This article describes current project progress to increase blueberry packout to acceptable levels while reducing purchase costs of a mechanical harvester. A commercial, over-the-row harvester was modified so that four workers could harvest using handheld olive shakers suspended at each work station. To reduce fruit bruising at harvest, experimental catch plates were installed on one side of the harvester; soft, inclined surfaces were installed over the rigid, bottom conveyors on both sides. Results showed installation of the soft catch surfaces yielded packout rates of 87% for ‘Meadowlark’ and 91% for ‘Farthing’, two southern highbush cultivars commonly planted in mild, temperate production areas. The handheld shakers were not efficient and will be replaced by traditional rotary drum shakers in future studies. View this paper