INTA Alto Valle technicians developed a device for pruning and harvesting in series top fruit. This reduces operating costs and improves working conditions. The first commercial models could available in 2013.
In the Northern regions of Patagonia, the most popular form of harvesting is by hand, with long and heavy ladders, because of the importance of the visual qualityof the fruit. To reduce risk and increase productivity, INTA Alto Valle technicians developed the first mobile platform for pruning, harvesting and other work that increases yields by 50 percent.
Carlos Magdalena, a specialist in the unit, explained that in Argentina and other Latin American countries these machines do not exist: "This first Argentine mobile platform reduces operating times and improves working conditions," he said.
The platform replaces ladders weighing up to 30 kilos and harvest containers,
widespread in the Patagonian north valleys.
It is a system with two levels of platforms, from one to two meters above the ground, it does not require a tractor to move and, with an average speed of two meters per minute, can carry up to eight operators at a time.
Tests done with this equipment, indicated that "both in pruning and harvesting, yields increased by up to 50 percent compared to the traditional system." In addition, the technician said that the results "will depend on the organization of each fruit tree and conditions of the production system according to density and distribution of the fruits."
The pruning and harvesting platform provides operators more comfort and stability than the ladders. Moreover, freedom of movement, reducing fatigue and it will result in a marked improvement in the quality of performance.
According to the specialist, "they represent a way to increase productivity and improve the quality and working conditions because the operator performs its tasks in a comfortable and ergonomic place."