Mechanical Hazelnut Harvesting: First Results of a Pickup Prototype for a Low Environmental Impact
Pagano, M.; Fanigliulo, R.; Tomasone, R.; Cedrola, C.; Recchi P.F.; Colorio, G.
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International Society for Horticultural Science
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|Abstract in English:|
Improving the performance of the mechanical systems in hazelnut harvesting provides an important means to reduce labour need and cut production costs. Efficient machinery can complete the harvest in a shorter time, reducing the stay of fruits on the ground for a better quality. Harvesting with vacuum machines produces dust problems in the groves because of the powerful air stream used for picking and cleaning fruits. To tackle this specific problem a new harvester was developed by FACMA in which an mechanical pickup system is used to collect fruits, instead of the vacuum system employed in other models. The “SEMEK” harvester is a self propelled one-person operated machine, powered by a VM Diesel engine, rated 64 kW at 2600 rpm. The engine features EC/EPA Step 3A emissions certification. The machine has 3 drive wheels, hydrostatic drive and power steering. In front of the harvester head two hydraulically operated circular sweeps gather the product into a windrow. The header itself is a drum enclosing a rotating-brush that lifts the fruits. A metal grid is inserted in the front side of the drum for the purpose of removing part of the debris, discharging it to one side along the row. Operative performance and work quality were evaluated in field tests in Cimini Mountains, near Viterbo. The C.I.O.S.T.A. methodology was used for assessing working time. Tests showed a good hourly productivity (1.25 t?h-1), high operative working capacity (0.54 ha?h-1) and good product cleanness (89.75%). An inappropriate adjustment of the picking height and of the rotational speed of circular sweeps resulted in high ground losses (20% of produce, equal to 0.53 t?ha-1). A low dust production was observed, with less air pollution in the orchard environment. A careful tuning of the machine is required for improving performance.