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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  035004,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15400)
Authors:   Avital Bechar, Nir Kesler, Gal Levi, Efi Brand, Aviad Kanigsberg, Shlomo Yosef, Sinaia Netanyahu and Yael Edan
Keywords:   simulation, tomato greenhouse, work study, work methods, trellising, picking, human labor.

Tomatoes greenhouse growing processes are labor intensive. The extensive manpower required to perform the different operations cause a bottleneck from aspects of costs and work capacities. The main bottleneck points are in the trellising, fruit picking stages and transportation to the packinghouse. This research aims to improve work processes in tomato greenhouses, by reducing manual labor.

The research was performed in a farm of 75 acres of tomato greenhouses, located in southwest Israel. Work-studies were conducted and the growing processes were characterized. Two simulation models of work processes in tomato greenhouses were developed based on statistical analysis of the work-study data. The simulations were developed on ARENA and Microsoft Excel Visual Basic environments. Several alternatives for the different work processes were suggested and evaluated. Results indicate that fruit picking should be implemented using a picking cart, moving along the row in a batch advance method and longer rows are preferable and reduce work time.

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