Friday, 26 March 2021 15:55

Blowing life into apple harvest

Written by  Mark Daniel
The ERO Impulse pneumatic defoliator delivers a pulsed flow of compressed air to shred and remove the green leaf material from apples during the ripening stages. The ERO Impulse pneumatic defoliator delivers a pulsed flow of compressed air to shred and remove the green leaf material from apples during the ripening stages.

Probably better known in the viticulture sector, Tractor Repairs and Spares (TRS) is now expanding into the horticulture area - with a focus on apple - after purchasing the FMR business in late 2020.

At a recent demo day in the Hawke's Bay, TRS showcased a New Zealand-designed and manufactured machine, with the aim of increasing the quantity of premium quality, pickable apples, while reducing labour costs.

The ERO Impulse pneumatic defoliator uses tried-and-tested key componetry from a German manufacturer.

The machine delivers a pulsed flow of compressed air to shred and remove the green leaf material from apples during the ripening stages.

By allowing more light to penetrate the crop canopy, the onset of ripening is brought forward, while the vibrancy of colour is also markedly improved.

"There are also major production gains, given that in a typical season, orchardists will typically 'pick' the orchard three times to take fruit as they ripen," explains TRS's Chris Clifford. "Using the pneumatic defoliator results in major colouring changes in 10 to 14 days and usually reduces the picking passes to just two events."

The system comprises a front linkage mounted tool carrier/tower that can move through four different axes. This in turn carries a selectable configuration of twin-rotor distribution heads that direct the air flow into the crop canopy. Depending on the orchard layout, the rotor heads can be stacked vertically to deal with a taller wall of fruit, or 2D formats, or in tandem to operate in more conventional 3D layouts.

A rear-mounted, heavy-duty compressor sends air forwards to the distributor heads, where in the first instance it enters a manifold/gallery. This creates a "pulsed" effect as the rotating nozzles pass by.

The machine is said to be easily adjustable to change air pressure or rotor speed to suit the crop being managed. The unit normally passes through the orchard at a forward speed of 1-2km/h, with a typical horsepower requirement of around 100hp.

TRS notes that the development stages showed that a "pulsed air flow" is required to shred the leaf material, as a constant flow of air will just "bend" leaves away from the air flow, from where they will quickly return to their original growing position once the machine has passed.

The modular design of the system tower on the front linkage means that it is also capable of carrying the ERO/Binger OBS Orchard Trimmer, thus saving the capital costs of two separate machines, while facilitating overall canopy management.

www.tractorrepairs.co.nz

More like this

Beauvais hits one million!

Massey Ferguson recently announced that its Beauvais factory in France has produced its 1,000,000th tractor, having started manufacturing tractors on the site 62 years ago, in late 1960.

Lending weight to milking cluster helps beat mastitis

Operating in conjunction with automatic cluster removal (ACR) and gently supporting the cluster, Lactalign is a relatively simple retrofitted device designed to counter the often-costly impact of uneven weight and vacuum distribution of a traditional milking cluster.

Making life easier

Many temporary sheep fencing systems can be troublesome, with reels jamming or breaking and the bugbear of silly hooks on the chains, which continuously catch on everything.

Krone adds VariPack to its baler range

The Krone VariPack Plus is a high-density, high-performance round baler comprising of four models – the VariPack V 165, V 165 XC, VariPack V 190 and V 190 XC.

National

All hands on deck

Growers are mucking in and helping staff to pick this year's kiwifruit crop.

Aiming for homegrown NZ gin

Despite a plethora of new gins appearing all over NZ, the country is yet to grow local juniper berries at…

Machinery & Products

JD establishes new hort JV

John Deere claims a joint venture between it and California-based technology company GUSS will assist horticulture producers achieve greater on-farm…

Mulchers set the standard

Orizzonti is well known in the viticulture and orchard sectors for its specialised range of mowers and mulchers.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

No free ride!

OPINION: This old mutt is getting somewhat tired of multi-national, tax-dodging, fund-raising group Greenpeace always given front and centre mainstream…

How come?

OPINION: A mate of yours truly is questioning exactly why the Māori ag sector have been given special budget funding by…

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter