- Fruits: general tree fruits
- Crop Production: vacuum harvester
Description: We used funds to build and adapt a user-friendly two-man vacuum conveying system for harvesting fruit. The system can be added to various self propelled carrying mechanisms already used by many fruit operations, large and small. We also incorporated commonly used bin trailers in our harvester system to move the harvested fruit from the orchard to the storage facility, further reducing the cost of handling, labor, and fuel over current methods Results: Through field testing and data obtained by Michigan State University, we showed a more efficient, productive and cost effective way to harvest apples when compared with conventional hand-picked fruit. These field trials were very well received by researchers and growers alike. Growers are particularly excited by the possibility of reducing harvest costs. We want to continue to build up the system to allow up to four people to concurrently pick fruit and to adapt the harvester to even more types of new and existing equipment.