Economic evaluation of apple harvest and in-filed sorting technology

Article


Zhang, Z., Pothula, A. K. and Lu, R.. 2017. "Economic evaluation of apple harvest and in-filed sorting technology." Transactions of the ASABE. 60 (5), pp. 1537-1550. https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.12226
Article Title

Economic evaluation of apple harvest and in-filed sorting technology

ERA Journal ID3442
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsZhang, Z. (Author), Pothula, A. K. (Author) and Lu, R. (Author)
Journal TitleTransactions of the ASABE
Journal Citation60 (5), pp. 1537-1550
Number of Pages14
Year2017
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN2151-0032
2151-0040
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.12226
Web Address (URL)https://elibrary.asabe.org/abstract.asp?aid=48467
Abstract

The U.S. apple industry, which generated more than $2.7 billion in revenue at the farm gate in 2013, is facing
critical challenges with decreased availability of labor and increased labor and production costs. To address these challenges, a self-propelled apple harvest and in-field sorting machine is being developed in our laboratory. This article reports on the economic evaluation of this prototype machine by considering machine cost (annual ownership and operating costs), harvest productivity increase (including that due to decreased occupational injuries), and cost savings in postharvest storage and packing resulting from in-field sorting of fresh market quality apples from processing apples for both fresh apple growers and processing apple growers. The economic evaluation was conducted based on the assumptions that the machine increases harvest productivity by 43% to 63% and operates for 360 h during the harvest season. For fresh apple orchards with processing apple incidences of 5% to 15%, the net annual benefits that would accrue from owning one machine range from $13,500 to $78,400 when the machine price is between $100,000 and $160,000. For processing apple orchards with processing apple incidences of 80% to 90% and the same machine price range, the net annual benefits that would accrue from owning one machine range from $23,900 to $81,700. Overall, the benefits gained from in-field sorting outweigh those from the harvest productivity increase, and integration of the harvest-assist and in-field sorting functions is more beneficial to apple growers. This technology will help the U.S. apple industry improve labor productivity and reduce production costs, and thus it looks promising for commercialization.

Keywordsapples, economic evaluation, harvest-assist, in-field sorting, machinery system, occupational injuries
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020409901. Agricultural engineering
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsMichigan State University, United States
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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