Assessing the Efficiency of a Mechanical Harvesting-aid Machine for Bell Pepper

Carlos A Sambrano-Vaca, Carlos J Mendez-Urbaez, Bielinski M Santos

Abstract


Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) is one of the main vegetable crops in Florida. During 2010–11 about 17,600 acres were harvested, generating a total value of $248 million. High labor cost and availability for harvesting vegetable and fruit crops are major issues on the sustainability of Florida agriculture. Alternatives to improve the efficiency of hand labor harvesting are highly desirable. There are several alternatives for assisted harvesting among mechanical harvesting-aid machines. One of those alternatives is a conveyor belt-based, self-propelled machine, which has a wingspan covering 12 beds on 5-ft centers. A field study was conducted to assess the efficiency of a mechanical harvesting-aid machine compared to regular hand-harvesting. Two treatments were evaluated: 1) mechanical harvesting-aid machine and 2) regular hand-harvesting. Four harvests were made from November to Dec. 2012. The results showed that the harvesting efficiency of bell pepper increased by 38% using the machinery compared to regular hand-harvesting.


Keywords


labor efficiency, harvesting costs, harvesting methods

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283