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Pre-requisites for mechanical harvesting are correct tree spacing (no closer than 8mx5m) and correct pruning. Indicative costs are $3-$5 per tree.
- Mechanical harvesters can be attached to tractors or are complete units.
- They can be purchased, hired or contracted.
- Some machines catch fruit, others dislodge it into a net.
- Harvesting rates vary from 1-2 trees per minute.
- Terrain, slope and ground cover affect the speed of harvest, the flatter the faster.
- Vase shaped pruning is preferred to monoconical to avoid bruising.
- Ripe fruit is easier to remove.
- Removal efficiency depends on variety.
- Removal % up to 95% can be achieved.
- Remaining fruit is hand harvested.
- Tree damage should be minimal.
- Fruit damage of up to 3% can be expected.
- Bark damage should be avoided.