Handheld mechanical fruit thinners tested
A new mechanical fruit thinner from France (foreground) is being tested. WSU has been developing its own mechanical thinner (background).
Karen Lewis, extension specialist with Washington State University, says a new mechanical thinning device called the Electroflor, which is manufactured in France, shows promise for thinning stone fruits. It is being tested in Chile and Washington State but is not yet available commercially in the United States. The device telescopes to nine feet, and the operator wears a battery-pack vest.
Lewis and colleagues at WSU have also been working to develop a handheld mechanical thinning device as part of a major research project on comprehensive automation for specialty crops.
Look for more information in upcoming issues of the Good Fruit Grower magazine.