Evolution of factors affecting mechanical olive harvesting

A. Almeida, T. Figueiredo, A. Fernandes-Silva
Harvest efficiency is defined as the percentage of fruits harvested by total production. The percentage of fruits harvested is less than 100% when working with trunk shakers to detach olives. It is important to increase the percentage of fruits harvested in order to increase farmer's income. This objective can be achieved knowing the evolution of the main factors affecting fruit detachment. Fruit removal force (FRF), fruit weight (P) and the ratio between them are important for harvest efficiency. Field trials took place for two years (2013-2014) in Vilariça Valley, northeast Portugal in an olive orchard with 'Cobrançosa Transmontana' cultivar. It was adopted a mechanical harvesting system based on a trunk shaker to detach fruits, and an inverted umbrella to collect fruits. Elementary operation times were measured in seconds to evaluate work rates. FRF and P were measured in the ripening period, to evaluate their evolution. In this paper are presented the preliminary results of the ratio FRF (fruit removal force)/fruit weight evolution during the ripening period (P) and the results of the equipment work rate (trees h-1). The ratio FRF/P has predominantly descendant values in the weeks before harvest, from 140 to 80 as a result of a FRF downward variation from 4.9 to 2.94 N and an upward variation of P from 0.0294 to 0.0637 N. The FRF/P ratio stabilizes the decline in the last week of November just before harvesting, registering in some cases a slight increase in consequence of FRF increase higher than P increase (contrary to the tendency of previous weeks). Equipment work rate showed values between 40 and 57 trees h-1, confirming previous results.
Almeida, A., Figueiredo, T. and Fernandes-Silva, A. (2016). Evolution of factors affecting mechanical olive harvesting. Acta Hortic. 1139, 575-580
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1139.99
olive harvest mechanization, trunk shaker, efficiency, fruit removal force, fruit weight

Acta Horticulturae