CMNP is a chemical that is currently under review by the EPA for registration as an abscission-aiding compound. By loosening mature fruit, CMNP is expected to allow mechanical harvesting of Valencia oranges to continue well into May and June without significant losses of next year’s crop. Late season trials were conducted on a Lake Placid grove from early May through mid-June. Preliminary results showed significant treatment effects from spraying CMNP. Immature fruit losses were shown to be a result of higher canopy shaker frequencies and not from the CMNP treatments. Effects on next season’s yields will be assessed this fall and measured when the trials are repeated May and June of 2012.
During the 2010-2011 season, two over-the-row harvesting machines were demonstrated in the University of Florida Southwest Florida Research and Education Center model grove on a high-density planting of four-year-old Hamlin and Valencia trees. These machines, a blueberry harvester (BEI International LLC) and an olive harvester (Oxbo International Corp.), both showed promising results for harvesting small dwarf trees. Our objective during the 2011-2012 season is to locate more acreage over which these machines can harvest and allow their respective manufacturers to improve their overall harvesting performance. Work also has continued on ways to reduce leaf and twig trash from the self-propelled canopy harvesting equipment currently being used in Florida groves. Ideas have included installing new cleaning units on existing machines, as well as improving the efficiency of the de-stemmer, and installation of a system of sensors to determine fruit quality and detect fruit that doesn’t meet the required standards.