Scheduling the harvest of Florida oranges to maximize juice production

Jacob Searcy, Fritz Roka, Thomas Spreen


Successful adoption of mechanical harvesters by the Florida citrus industry will require changes to the current op­erational systems of fruit production, harvesting, and juice processing. These operational changes have the potential to impact financial returns throughout the market. Clearly defining the relationships among the biological changes in the fruit, industry operational decisions, and economic returns from operation will contribute to improving the future of citrus harvesting in Florida. The primary objective of this research is to develop a harvest scheduling model for the Florida orange juice production industry that optimizes juice production while incorporating biological and logisti­cal constraints that face both growers and processors. The first step in this research process is to develop a biological model of expected fruit maturity and yield based on fruit variety, tree age, and geographic location that maximizes total pound-solid production. The second step is to extend the biological model by incorporating current harvesting and processing limitations along with estimating the impacts of these restrictions on production and economic returns. Scheduling of harvest will be determined by optimizing pound-solid production under these harvesting and processing limitations.

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