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Preliminary Testing of a System for Evaluating Picker Efficiency in Tree Fruit

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

Citation:  2012 Dallas, Texas, July 29 - August 1, 2012  121338439.(doi:10.13031/2013.41912)
Authors:   Yiannis G Ampatzidis, Bikram Adhikari, Patrick Scharf, Matthew D Whiting, Qin Zhang
Keywords:   Labor monitoring, wearable system, fruit harvesting, harvest efficiency, RFID, Zigbee

Herein we present a real-time monitoring system that can track and record individual picker efficiency during harvest of tree crops. It integrates a digital weighing scale, RFID reader/writer, RFID tags, computational unit, and a wearable datalogger housed in a protective enclosure attached to the pickers belt. As harvested fruit is dumped into a standard collection bin situated on the scale, the system reads simultaneously the pickers ID (RFID tag) and records the incremental weight of fruit. Weight data are transmitted wirelessly to the pickers datalogger which displays, via LCD, the total weight of harvested fruit. The performance of the prototype system was evaluated during harvest of sweet cherries (Prunus avium L.) and apples (Malus domestica Borkh.). The mean harvest rate for manual harvest of Cowiche sweet cherry trees trained to a planar, compact architecture was 0.80 kg/person/min. In addition, preliminary tests showed that harvesting with a mechanical-assist harvest system improved harvest rate in a Skeena sweet cherry orchard trained to a Y-trellised system to 1.25 kg/person/min. In comparison, harvest rate of Fuji apple trees trained to a moderate density central leader architecture and Braeburn/M9 apple trees trained to a high density tall spindle system was 3.58 kg/person/min and 5.61 kg/person/min, respectively.

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