Robotic strawberry harvesting (Part 2) (BS09014)
What was it all about?
The strawberry industry faces a number of challenges including rising input costs, a steady increase in imports, unreliable supply of labour and consumer concerns about pesticide residues and environmental impact.
The project aimed to address all of these problems by developing an automated strawberry production system.
The innovative new system consists of a rotating growing arrangement using covered production and robotics to enable fully automated harvesting and packing.
The work included research and development into the various components such as system needs including…
- Hydroponic production technology
- Covered strawberry production
- A rotating growing system
- Robotic harvesting
- Automated grading and packing.
Researchers made great progress during the project, including procuring and partly commissioning components that will be needed for eventual commercialisation.
This automated system will have several advantages over current practices, including reductions in…
- Labour needs
- Weather damage and variability
- Risk of plant pests and diseases
- Agri-chemical use
- Damage from wild or feral animals.
The work has set in place the foundations for the next phase of development. Further work is required to optimise the agronomic aspects of the new system, especially cultivar trials and to fully automate picking and packing.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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