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A Shake and Catch Harvesting System for ‘Jazz’ Apples Trained in Vertical Fruiting Wall Architecture

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

Citation:  2016 ASABE Annual International Meeting  162461420.(doi:10.13031/aim.20162461420)
Authors:   Long He, Han Fu, Daozong Sun, Manoj Karkee, Qin Zhang
Keywords:   fresh market apple, mechanical harvest, shake and catch, fruit removal efficiency, fruit quality

Abstract. Currently, manually picking fresh market apples has become a big challenge due to the decreasing availability of labor-force and high cost. Mechanical solutions for fresh market apple harvesting has been seeking for decades, however, high rate of harvest induced fruit damage was an obstacle. A new shake and catch system was developed and evaluated in this study to achieve desired level of fruit quality. The conceptual system provided a localized harvesting by shaking targeted tree limbs and catching the detached fruits right underneath. A series of laboratory catching device test was conducted using an Impact Recording Device (IRD), and results showed that the strength of impact and number of impacts with large energy dramatically decreased when the developed catching device was used compared to the catching surface without buffers. Field harvesting test was completed in ‘Jazz‘ apple trees trained to the ‘Vertical Fruiting Wall‘ architecture. The system achieved a fruit removal efficiency of 84%, 86%, and 92% under 15, 20, and 25 Hz shaking frequency, respectively. The collection efficiency was 99%, 98% and 93% of the harvested fruits under three test frequencies. It was found that the system reached the highest “Extra-Fancy” fruit grade of 85% when the limb was shaken at 15 Hz frequency and collected using catching surface tilt angle of 25°. This study showed that the developed shake and catch system is a potential solution for mechanical harvesting of ‘Jazz‘ apples and may be extendable to other varieties grown in modern fruiting wall architectures.

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