2015 Spring Meeting Florida Blueberry Growers’ Association CURRENT USDA BLUEBERRY RESEARCH: * SEASONAL SHADING OF BLUEBERRY PLANTS * MECHANICAL AND HARVEST-AID SYSTEMS FOR FRESHMARKET PACK-OUT BLUEBRRY * BLUEBERRY PACKING LINE EVALUATION Fumiomi Takeda USDA-ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station Kearneysville, WV 25430 Seasonal, Retractable Shading System for Blueberries in the Southeast • • • • Cooler plant temperature/Substitute for HC? Advance bloom, Improve fruit set Reduce frost damage, Bird predation? Increase U-Pick customer satisfaction Bartow, FL Feb. 2013 Scale-Neutral Harvest-Aid System and Sensor Technologies to Improve Harvest Efficiency and Handling of Fresh-Market Highbush Blueberries Project Overview USDA NIFA competitive grant: Specialty Crop Research Initiative ($2.37 million) 14 PIs from 10 LAND-GRANT UNIVERSITIES and USDA-ARS Multi-state, comprehensive 4-year research/ extension project to develop semimechanical harvesters and sensor technologies to take fresh market blueberry production to next level 3 Objectives 1. Develop high-throughput phenotyping, sensor technologies 2. Design a new semi-mechanical harvest-aid system for efficient mechanical fruit harvesting for small- and medium-size blueberry farms and with fruit quality for fresh-market packout 3. Develop the next-generation berry impact recording sensor and use it to improve harvest and postharvest operations through a critical understanding of mechanical impacts 4 Objectives 4. Determine microbial contamination and critical control points along the harvest and postharvest chain with the new harvesting system 5. Conduct economic and ergonomic analyses of new developed harvesting technologies 6. Outreach and technology transfer HAND-HARVESTED MACHINE-HARVESTED Hand-harvested blueberries Fruit dropped from heights > 2 feet Internal bruise detection using near infrared imaging system Bruised Band ratio near infrared images (1075/1250 nm) of bruised blueberries (top row) and healthy blueberries (bottom row); • A SWRI hyperspectral imaging system will be used • PCA and minimum noise fraction transform will be used to enhance features • Band ratio images will be used to enhance bruising feature • Linear Bayesian classifier for classification 9/27 Thermal imaging Bruised Thermal image of one bruised (right) and one healthy (left) blueberries (Li, Unpublished work). • • • • Pulsed-phase thermography Thermal camera (T440, FLIR) 320 x 240 10 s heat excitation Frequency, amplitude, and phase delay will be analyzed by fast Fourier transform using Matlab • Artificial bruising (pendulum); 24h and 48h after bruising 10/27 PACKING HOUSE EVALUATION 3 Accelerometers Y 12/27 BIRD II CUMULATIVE DROP HEIGHT = ~ 40 in. ELECTRONIC SORTER SIZER Grading Line * * * * Fruit dropped once from 24-inch height onto padded surface Fruit dropped 5 times from 6-inch height to hard surface Objective 2 •Design a new semi-mechanical harvest-aid system for efficient mechanical fruit harvesting for small- and medium-size blueberry farms. Goal: Machine harvest blueberries without bruising them! 18/27 Alternative Harvester Design: Reduce how far berries drop 1. Plant canopy manipulation; 2) Positioning of catcher plates Catcher plate design Padded catcher plate Various padding products are being evaluated 1000 Plastic r2=0.99 No Bruze r2=0.99 Impact (g) 800 600 400 200 ? (a) 0 0 20 40 60 80 Drop height (cm) 100 120 140 Putting all the components together: Multi-Row Harvesting Platform? Improved fruit removal apparatus Catcher plates that minimize fruit bruising Ergonomic Higher capacity platform harvesting system Thank you! Questions?