FUTURE TREND IN CROP SYSTEMS AND FIELD TECHNOLOGY OF TOMATOES FOR PROCESSING
We speak of these changes in California as those of a second generation of mechanized growing and harvesting of processing tomatoes. I believe there are persons among you today who attended the National Conference in the U.S.A. on the Mechanization of Tomato Production which was held at Purdue University in Indiana in December of 1966, and heard my presentation at that time on direct seeding, plant populations and scheduling for harvesting of tomatoes. Or perhaps there are others of you who attended the XVIIIth International Horticultural Congress in Telavive, Israel, in March of 1970, and heard the invited paper "Techniques allowing single harvest". You will recall that I emphasized methods for processing tomatoes using a systems' approach. At that time it was recognized that there are four major components in this total system. And if we can have the slides now I would like to proceed with the presentation.
For complete mechanization, it is necessary to have these four factors working together - the machine, the varieties, the cultural practices and the post-harvest handling. If these factors are not working together there's complete disarray. I've travelled in many parts of the world and have seen many attempts at mechanization. Likewise I have travelled in the U.S.A. and have seen many failures in attempts to mechanization. In miost of these cases it's because one of these factors was not in phase. You cannot divorce a single one from the other three and get success. Every one must function as unison. However at that time there occurred a change in the industry. A small beginning was made in changing the post-harvest handling aspect. Just one part of that four-way puzzle. The industry began to move from these 500 kg conteiners, wooden bins, to the bulk-handling system, which where anywhere from 10–12 tons per bulk gondola. This caused tremendous losses to the industry. The first appearance looked like it was great. But the processors at one of our tomato days, which we hold annually, at the University of California, Davis, began to quote the losses which they said exceeded thirty million dollars, due to the changing into the bulk system. The reason, of course, was that of the mechanical damage that was occurring from the standard variety, the 'VF 145-B 78x79'. This was the standard variety. Fortunately Professor Hanna, at the University, at that time, had already begun to work on a very firm-fruited variety, which was released as the UC 134. It was noticed that this particular firmness and also the elongated shapes in some of the other varieties that he was working with - that these were much less susceptible to mechanical damage. We had a change in the post-harvest system. A variety had to be developed to go along with that system and then also it was necessary that the cultural practice come along with it.