Integrated Harvesting Technologies to Improve Berry Recovery and Quality

The overall objective of the proposed initiative is to develop a novel, automated and integrated harvesting system that will identify the root causes of increased loses; increase berry picking efficiency and product quality. The increased harvesting losses of wild blueberry crop during harvesting have pushed the growers and processors within the industry to set a goal, to increase the harvestable yields of wild blueberries by 33% to justify ever increasing cost of agrochemicals. Currently, there are 15 to 25% fruit yield losses during the harvesting with existing commercial blueberry harvester. Massive amount of data collected over the past 5 years will be interpreted, gleaned, organized and analyzed to identify the factors responsible for fruit losses during mechanical harvesting. A user friendly interface will be developed by considering the spatial variations in plant parameters, crop and fruit characteristics, yield, topography, environmental conditions and mechanical aspects by employing mathematical modeling and C++ programming. Interface development for mechanical harvesting of blueberries will help the farmers to choose operational settings of harvester to improve berry picking efficiency. Improved harvesting efficiency can reduce fruit losses and contribute millions of dollars to provincial as well as the federal economy every year.

Faculty Supervisor:

Qamar Zaman


Aitazaz Farooque


Doug Bragg Enterprises Ltd.






Dalhousie University



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