Date of Award
Master of Science
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
With the field of agriculture constantly growing and evolving, new crops are constantly being developed in order to meet world consumer demands. As technology progresses, more and more specialty crops are being grown not only for food, but also for other properties such as chemical extracts for use in many applications. Because of the rising cost of labor, many people involved in the specialty crop industry are turning to mechanization in order to reduce their production costs. A problem with mechanization is that there is a lack of harvesting technology for every specialty crop. This technology needs to be developed, and a crucial part of this development is the hydraulic and electrical system that is used to reliably control the actions of any specialty crop harvesting system.
A self-propelled crop harvesting system was developed to mechanically harvest a desired flower from a plant, separate the flower from foreign material, and store approximately 1,200 pounds of product onboard while leaving the plant intact for future harvests. The machine developed utilizes a four row head with a set of rotating picking fingers that harvest the desired mature flowers from the plant.
Structural, hydraulic, electrical, and control systems were included in development and fabrication of a working prototype harvesting system. An initial prototype was developed to determine the harvesting efficiency of the mechanical harvester in comparison to hand harvesting. The initial prototype was found to harvest 45% of the desired mature flower crop. This outcome led to the development of a full scale prototype harvesting system.
Brian Joseph McEvoy
McEvoy, Brian Joseph, "Development of a specialty crop harvesting system" (2015). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 14593.