Fruit removal forces of early stage pickling cucumbers for harvest automation
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Horticultural Engineering, Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy, Max-Eyth-Allee 100, 14469, Potsdam, Germany
Martina Carola Jakob   

Horticultural Engineering, Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy, Max-Eyth-Allee 100, 14469, Potsdam, Germany
Final revision date: 2020-12-21
Acceptance date: 2020-12-21
Publication date: 2021-02-08
Int. Agrophys. 2021, 35(1): 25–30
European growers are demanding selective mechanical harvesting solutions, such as robotic solutions, because hand harvesting is extremely labour intensive. Mechanical harvesting depends on low fruit retention forces between fruit and plant. Over two consecutive growing seasons, including a winter greenhouse trial, more than 1 600 samples were taken to determine the fruit removal force of early stage cucumbers for pickling and canning. Compared to studies with other fruit the fruit removal force of cucumbers was fairly high and also showed a large degree of variation. A significant percentage of the harvest had stalk residues, which cause the expenditure of extra man-hours on the processing lines. It was therefore concluded, that mere pulling is not sufficient to disconnect the fruit. Harvesting robots require an extra device for ease of separation.
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