Economic evaluation of apple harvest and in-filed sorting technology

Zhang, Z. and 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. ISSN 2151-0032

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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.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version made available according to the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2019 05:07
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 03:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: apples, economic evaluation, harvest-assist, in-field sorting, machinery system, occupational injuries
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099901 Agricultural Engineering
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.13031/trans.12226
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/35693

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