Use of platforms during apple harvest has opened up the opportunity for night harvesting. Platforms can be equipped with LED lights that allow workers to see the fruit more easily than in sunlight, says Washington State University Extension Specialist Karen Lewis. And that helps them pick faster. Selective color picking is also easier under LED lighting.
Adding a second or third shift allows companies to harvest from more acreage in a given time, and some pickers prefer to work in the cool evening hours than in the heat of the day, even though they have more bugs, such as mosquitoes and gnats, to deal with.
However, adding night shifts means employing more forklift drivers, checkers, and supervisors, as well as pickers, Lewis noted. “It does complicate things, and it does increase your costs for management. It’s a shift in the way we’re doing business.”
The harvest-assist machine pictured here was manufactured by Automated Ag Systems in Moses Lake, Washington. For more information go to automatedag.com.
Submitted and published in the January 15, 2015 issue of Good Fruit Grower to: In The Box.
Just wanted to say that was a great photograph showing our Bandit Xpress harvester at work.
The Bandit Xpress is a platform harvesting aid. The machine eliminates the need for ladders in the orchards, raising the pickers to the desired picking levels, picking fruit into their picking bags, and then gently dumping them into the raised bin beside them.
The Xpress has solved the question of, “How do you get the fruit down to the ground?” This is done quickly and efficiently with our scissor lift system that raises the empty bin to the desired level of the pickers then, once full, lowers the filled bin, which is then gently set onto the orchard floor at the rear of the machine.
Empty bins are loaded from the front of the machine, with the Xpress never having to stop to cycle the bins.
Automated Ag Systems, Moses Lake, Washington