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Mechanical blueberry harvesting: what advantages does it offer?

The blueberry industry is constantly expanding and has undergone a considerable development in recent periods, both in terms of investments and in terms of technological evolution. However, some problems remain for the fruitful growth of the sector, including the high cost of labor, the lack of qualified personnel to be employed in manual operations and the general poor efficiency of the traditional harvesting systems.

Switching to a mechanized or semi-mechanized blueberry harvest could be a solution to these difficulties and would help keep competitive the activity of the growers.

The advantages of mechanized harvesting

Replacing 100% manual harvesting with the use of special mechanical hook shakers can drastically reduce berry harvesting times. In fact, the most recent research in the sector estimates that the use of semi-automatic tools can lead to a quantity of fruit harvested (measured in grams per minute) which is from 3.5 to 15 times higher than the result of the same operation performed manually.

Consequently, exploiting mechanical systems leads to a significant reduction in the need for manpower by hundreds of hours / hectare per year and helps growers the constant increase in labor costs and in shortage of personnel with more serenity.

In addition, the absence of a direct contact of the operators’ hands with the berries allows to preserve their surface, which is delicate by nature and get damaged very easily. Although a particularly careful manual harvesting can help keep the fruit consistency intact, the use of specially designed blueberry hook shakers greatly reduces the percentage of the fruit damaged during each harvesting session.

Another phenomenon should not be underestimated: many operators tend to taste the fruits harvested. This is an apparently small quantity of berries, but it significantly affects the final productivity of the intervention. This possibility is reduced by mechanized operations, today made even faster and safer, since the berries are automatically lead into special containers.

New STARBERRY MD2

Our STARBERRY MD2 electric hook shaker is the natural evolution of the previous MD1 model, presented in 2019 as the first electric tool in the world for blueberry harvesting. The features of the first version that has revolutionized the blueberry harvesting methods are enhanced in the new one, which is the result of an update inspired by the direct needs of the farmers.

The power of STARBERRY MD2 allows the operators to obtain an easy detachment of the berries, simply by shaking the branches of the shrubs and thus avoiding long and slow manual operations.

The new version of STARBERRY is even faster and more efficient than the previous one and allows to harvest up to three times more than with the traditional manual harvesting. This means a reduced need for manpower, that is to say, significant cost savings.

STARBERRY MD2 performances are optimized by the presence of an innovative electronic touch speed selector, which can vary the frequency from 600 to 2200 beats per minute and is fitted with a post-ignition and shutdown memory system. The speed variation of the vibration makes the tool versatile and allows it to harvest blueberries that have reached different degrees of ripeness and consequently, have a different resistance to detachment.

The two types of hooks, with which the electric hook shaker is supplied, have been designed to achieve an optimal harvesting yield on all types of blueberry varieties. Their mechanical harvesting also preserves the consistency and aesthetics of these fruits, increases the collected quantity and improves the economic yield.

One of the great innovations of STARBERRY MD2 is the presence of a blueberry trolley that facilitates the easy gathering of the berries detached from the plant, since they are directly led into a special container and left for the shortest possible time exposed to the environment and the operators’ touch.

The electric hook shaker by Campagnola is powered by lithium-ion plug-in batteries, which have an extraordinary working autonomy. The absence of cables increases the tool handiness and makes it suitable for all conditions of use.

Together with STARBERRY MD2, three 14.4 V batteries are supplied, with a capacity of 2.5 Ah they can be recharged in just 2 hours and guarantee a working autonomy of approximately 3 – 4 consecutive hours.

The ergonomic shape of STARBERRY MD2 maximizes the operator’s comfort, facilitates his / her movements and reduces the stress in his / her arms, neck, hands and back. The trigger with reduced stroke and the lightness of the tool, made of carbon-based polymers and weighing only 1.431 kg, battery included, are also essential for the well-being of the users.

Would you like to test our new STARBERRY MD2 electric hook shaker? Just contact our technicians or one of our specialized dealers, whom you can find in one of our 1800 points of sale around the world.

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