Efficiency of mechanical tools for olive harvest and effect on fruit quality

R.L. Ahmad
In Jordan, olives (Olea europaea L.) are traditionally harvested by hand or with hand-held plastic combs, costing about 40-50% of the total production costs. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of mechanical harvesting compared with manual harvest on three local olive cultivars, 'Nabali Baladi', 'Nabali Mohassan' and 'Rumi'. Harvesting productivity, percentage of harvested fruits, and percentages of detached leaves and bruised and injured fruits were measured. Results revealed that mechanical harvesting methods had a significant effect, increasing harvesting productivity fourfold for 'Nabali Baladi' and 'Rumi' and fivefold for 'Nabali Mohassan' compared with manual harvesting. The percentage of harvested fruits ranged from 98.9 to 99.1% using manual harvesting and from 88.6 to 96.2% using machines for all cultivars under study. In all three cultivars, the use of a pneumatic comb machine, Karbonium electric olive harvester and branch shaker caused higher percentages of fruit damage, which were significantly higher than that obtained when the olives were harvested by hand. Mechanical harvesting with a pneumatic comb machine produced a fourfold higher percentage of bruised fruit than the percentage obtained from manual harvesting. The results of this study indicate good potential for mechanical harvesting of olives.
Ahmad, R.L. (2018). Efficiency of mechanical tools for olive harvest and effect on fruit quality. Acta Hortic. 1199, 315-320
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1199.49
productivity, hand harvesting, fruit damage, pneumatic comb machine, branch shaker

Acta Horticulturae