The Rural Mechanization and Technology group at the University of Cordoba is working on the design of citrus harvesters that allow harvesting to be mechanized in intensive plantations by using a system of lateral agitators. The group has adapted and tested citrus harvester prototypes developed for the traditional olive grove through Mecaolivar (with funds and support from the Spanish Olive Oil Inter-branch Organization).
The group has focused on manufacturing versatile citrus harvesting machines that can work on different crops to facilitate their placement on the market and introduction into the sector. These advances in the mechanization of citrus harvesting have been published and featured on the cover by the scientific journal IJABE, the most important journal in China on agricultural mechanization.
The continuation of these works is carried out through the CITRUSTECH Operational Group - Technological advances for modernization and sustainability in citrus production; a group in which the University of Cordoba works with the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the IVIA Valenciano, Citricos del Andevalo, ANECOOP, and the Cajamar Foundation of the Valencian Community.
These harvesters will allow the farming community to improve its profitability and sustainability. The goal is to allow producers to decide if they want to harvest all the fruit mechanically, or if they want to combine both systems. That is, conducting an early manual harvest of the highest quality fruit and another subsequent mechanized harvesting with the rest of the production that is destined for the industry. In both cases the quality of the harvested fruits would improve, adjusting to the necessary ripening requirements. In addition, it would be a solution for the high cost and the low availability of labor for this type of collection.