Machinery and mechanisation

Labour shortfall prompts automation research

If there’s a single common challenge hovering over Australia’s pome fruit industry it’s labour – specifically, a shortage thereof – prompting 2018 Nuffield scholar Bisi Oladele to look into packhouse automation. As the technical manager for Geoffrey Thompson Fruit Packing at Shepparton, Bisi oversees all quality control and compliance aspects of one of Australia’s biggest [...]

Labour-saving harvest techniques

With harvest in full swing, if not already completed in some regions and for some varieties, it’s timely to look at how orchardists can reduce their labour costs and look at some interesting machines from Europe that can help. A rise in orchard production costs around the world has had a major influence on the [...]

Platforms for increased labour efficiency

The benefits of platforms for increasing orchard labour efficiency was the focus of the June 2016 winter Future Orchards®  presentation given by Steve Spark, of AgFirst. Platforms for increased labour efficiency – notes Platforms for increased labour efficiency – presentation

Picking platforms with Jason Shields

With two platforms in operation and another two on order, Plunkett Orchards are reaping the benefits of mechanisation on their orchards. APAL met with Orchard Manager Jason Shields to see the platforms in operation and learn more about them.  Plunkett Orchards in Victoria is a large apple and pear grower, based in the Goulburn Valley. They produce around 12,000 bins of apples every year including Pink [...]

By |April 5th, 2016|Machinery and mechanisation, Profile, Victoria|

The robots are coming a-pickin’

The Capital Press, a United States (US) weekly agricultural newspaper, reports that Washington State University researchers hope to test a robotic apple picker this season. Researchers at Washington State University say that this apple picker robot could be commercialised in the near future (Photo: WSU) "Apples require a system delicate enough to pick [...]

By |August 27th, 2015|Machinery and mechanisation, News|

Improving labour productivity in orchards

The Future Orchards® March 2015 orchard walks looked at ways to review the performance of our current season in 2015 as well as ways to improve on farm labour productivity. These harvest orchard walks asked the question: Have orchard blocks met expectations for the year? Harvest is a time when the results of management are [...]

Improving harvest efficiencies with picking platforms

AgFirst explores where efficiency gains can be made by using picking platforms that can improve picker productivity and reduce picking costs per bin. By Craig Hornblow Harvest is approaching 50 per cent of the labour cost within an orchard and the benefits of reducing this are considerable. Picking platforms have the ability to both improve [...]

The challenges of ag robotics

APAL’s Technical Manager Angus Crawford recently attended The University of Sydney’s Agricultural Field Robots Summer School to get a better handle on where the technology is regarding robotics for orchardists.  Author: Angus Crawford Technical Manager, APAL 03 9329 3511 As an international event, the Summer School drew in roboticist researchers from the [...]

By |March 19th, 2015|Machinery and mechanisation|

Multi-leader trees and mechanical pruning in Europe

By Ulf Kerer As part of APAL’s Future Orchards® program, Ulf Kerer shares a suite of the latest orchard management, tree structure and mechanisation technologies being developed and assessed in Italy for pome fruit growers. The graft is low to allow the development of fruiting spurs even in the lower part of these twin-stem [...]

By |February 25th, 2015|Machinery and mechanisation, Pruning and training|

Australian robotics leaders in the field

Australia is an international leader in the area known as 'field robotics', which is the automation of outdoor machinery. I have had the unique opportunity of collaborating with many industry partners in mining, stevedoring, transportation, defence and environment management where we have automated machines and placed into operation. The key benefits have been improved operational [...]

By |September 9th, 2013|Machinery and mechanisation|