Affiliations: [a] Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria - Centro di ricerca Ingegneria e Trasformazioni Agroalimentari, via della Pascolare 16 - 00016 Monterotondo (Rm), Italy
| [b] Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria - Centro di ricerca Olivicoltura, Frutticoltura e Agrumicoltura, via La Canapona 1 bis 47100 Forlì (FC), Italy
| [c] Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria - Centro di ricerca Agricoltura e Ambiente, via Eulero 6/A, 35143 Padova (Pd), Italy
Corresponding author: Silvia Cappellozza, Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria - Centro di ricerca Agricoltura e Ambiente, via Eulero 6a, 35143, Padova, Italy. Tel.: +39 049 620205; Fax: +39 049 623119; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: BACKGROUND:In Europe mulberry cultivation is attracting growing interest for the valuable nutraceutical properties of its fruit; however, mulberry orchards specialized in fruit production only are not very common, therefore an adequate harvesting technique has not been developed. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this work was to evaluate an innovative harvesting system in terms of efficiency and labour required, and to monitor fruit losses. METHODS:Harvesting operations were recorded during inspections to the field during the fruit ripening season; chemical assessment on fruit quality and mechanical tests on the detachment force of fruits at different ripening stages were carried out. RESULTS:We described the structure and functions of the innovative system, its harvesting capacity (kg h–1) in comparison to traditional methods, the related losses, and the quality of collected fruits. CONCLUSIONS:The innovative harvesting system requires a minimum of four workers, but it results in a two to three-fold increase of the hourly productivity per person. Furthermore, it is constructionally and functionally very simple and it does not require important initial or maintenance investments. Overall the system can save labour costs and contribute to spreading of moriculture for fruit production.
Keywords: Mulberry fruits, sorosis, harvesting system, harvest losses, detachment force