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Rubber Finger Stripper Harvester for Green Chile

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

Citation:  2011 Louisville, Kentucky, August 7-10, 2011  1111099.(doi:10.13031/2013.40605)
Authors:   Paul A Funk, Stephanie J Walker
Keywords:   Capsicum, Chile, Chili, Harvest, Mechanization, Specialty Crop

Harvest mechanization as a system requires modifying or creating new components including cultivars, production practices, and harvest, transportation and processing plant machinery. New Mexican chile is one of the last segments of the pepper industry to still rely on hand labor. This paper reports on an experimental field harvester for succulent NM chile. Rubber fingers on a variable speed chain drive strip fruit from the plant and convey it to field cleaning sections of an existing pepper harvester. Field trials in 2010 showed moderate damage (12% of total yield) but harvest efficiency (56% of total plot yield) still leaves room for improvement. Part of that improvement may be realized through cultural practices that minimize branching and improve resistance to uprooting.

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