A new concept for mechanically harvesting bell peppers, intended specifically for multiple-pass harvesting, utilized spaced horizontal fingers combing vertically upward through plant foliage in an elliptical path alternating from both sides of the row. An apparatus based on this concept was designed and built, and harvest tests were conducted to determine the effect of two main machine operating parameters, vertical picking speed and disk angle. Harvesting performance was evaluated in terms of harvest efficiency, fruit damage, and plant damage as it related to multiple-pass harvesting. Fruit removal, both harvestable size and immature, increased significantly as vertical picking speed increased. Branch breakage also tended to increase as vertical picking speed increased, partially accounting for the increased fruit removal. Fruit damage increased significantly as the disk angle increased. Overall, the average harvest efficiency for the tests was 81% and the average fruit damage was 5.9%.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Wilhoit, J. H.; Duncan, George A.; and Wells, Larry G., "Elliptical Combing Motion for Harvesting Bell Peppers" (1990). Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Faculty Publications. 183.