Hand-held Mechanical Thinning Devices for Cherry Production

Zhang*, Q.; Lewis, K.M.

Industry groups have identified crop load management to be a
high priority for research and technology development. Blossom thinning is a common practice for crop load management in tree fruit production.  Manageable yields of high quality target fruit is the goal of bloom thinning. Mechanized thinning has shown the potential to significantly reduce the dependence on human labor in thinning operations.  This research aims to create a hand-held mechanical-assist thinning device which will allow field workers to penetrate inner layers of cherry trees to selectively thin blossoms without using a ladder, and reduce labor dependency through increased operation efficiency and worker productivity.  This project will search and review previous attempts on developing such technologies, and analyze the causes of unsuccessful attempts and the key attributers to the successful systems, followed by development of a few “proof-of-concept” prototype systems and conduct field tests to verify their functionality and performance.

If you would like more information about this topic or other developments in agriculture, contact Dr. Qin Zhang