Brazil’s Harvest+ Seeks Improved Citrus Harvesting

Daniel CooperBrazil, Harvesting

Brazil’s Fundecitrus, in partnership with the companies Agricef and Move Agro, has created the Harvest+ project that seeks to improve the country’s orange harvest. In addition to enhancing the manual harvesting process, the project is searching for mechanized and semi-mechanized solutions for citrus farming.

Harvest+ is in response to demand from producers and companies that want equipment capable of harvesting the fruit in a semi-mechanized or fully mechanized way. They seek a process that can provide productivity gains with cost reduction, increased harvest and better practices for harvesters.

The project has already gone through some stages of the manual harvesting process, tests with semi-mechanized equipment, identification of causes that generate a reduction in harvest yield and evaluation of improvement proposals. After all the evaluations and tests are carried out on citrus properties, the team will gather information and establish a practical and efficient concept so that growers can begin implementing the harvest mechanization process.

For fully mechanized harvesting, Harvest+ has sought to establish partnerships with companies, research institutes, startups and universities in Brazil and other countries.

Efraim Albrecht Neto, the project coordinator, said it is necessary to improve the manual harvesting process and seek mechanized and semi-mechanized solutions for citrus farming. “Today, here in Brazil, the harvest is carried out 100% manually,” Neto said. “With this in mind, we identified some opportunities to improve harvest, with the main objective of refining the work of harvesters in the field, as well as some details related to the logistics of the fruit and the materials needed for harvesting.”

Marcella Freitas, the agricultural and environmental engineer and process specialist at Move Agro, said the Harvest+ project has looked at apple harvesting “with the aim of understanding if there are similarities that can be applied to oranges.” He said while apple harvesting is not 100% mechanized, “it has already evolved into a semi-mechanized harvest.”

“We are bringing some particularities of this (apple) harvest, including making some visits to machinery and equipment suppliers,” Freitas said. “We are not limiting ourselves to having something specific for oranges at this point; perhaps we can adapt a technology from another crop and put it in oranges.”

Source: Fundecitrus

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