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Influence of Wild Blueberry Fruit Yield, Plant Height, and Ground Slope on Picking Performance of a Mechanical Harvester: Basis for Automation

Farooque, Aitazaz A., Zaman, Qamar U., Esau, Travis, Chang, Young Ki, Schumann, Arnold W., Jameel, Waqas
Applied engineering in agriculture 2017 v.33 no.5 pp. 655-666
automation, blueberries, fruit harvesters, fruit yield, harvesting, plant height
Spatial variability in fruit losses in relation to fruit yield, plant height, and ground slope can help to automate the wild blueberry harvester to improve picking performance. Currently, harvester operators adjust harvester‘s head height, ground speed, and revolutions per minute (rpm) manually. This is not only laborious but also stressful for operators, as they encounter spatial variability during harvesting. The goal of this work was to identify the automation potential of the harvester to improve harvestable yield and reduce operator‘s stress, keeping in view the spatial variability. Two fields were selected and test plots were constructed to examine the performance of the harvester in five zones of plant height, fruit yield, and ground slope. Fruit yield plant height and ground slope were recorded from each plot manually to examine their impact on total fruit loss.