Secrets of Successful Apple Harvesting

Ines Marjanovic

Agronomy Expert

October 21st is reserved for the celebration of World Apple Day. This day reminds us that an apple is a symbol of physical, cultural and genetic diversity. This day usually includes: various demonstrations, apple inspired games like apple bobbing, preparing juice and cider, gardening advice, tasting and the sale of many varieties of apples. Apple day celebration originated in the UK, but it is now celebrated worldwide. Since the celebration time depends on the time of harvest, here are five things that farmers should pay attention to for successful harvest management:

Harvesting Time

Choosing the optimal harvesting time prevents losses and influences the fruit quality. Optimal harvesting time depends on the apple variety and weather conditions during the growing season. It also depends on the purpose of apple production. Apples for fresh consumption are harvested when they reach physiological maturity while apples for processing are harvested when they reach technological maturity. Harvesting at optimal maturity will help to preserve fruit quality, improve yields and extend fruit storage life.

Method of Harvesting

Machinery harvest is more suitable for apples for processing, when the quantity of harvested fruits is more important than the quality. When it comes to apples for fresh consumption, manual picking is more suitable. The best practice of picking apples is by using the “rolling method” where apples are turned upside down on the spur, thus avoiding bruising.

Fruit Handling

Fruit handling also depends on the purpose of apple production: apples for fresh consumption should be carefully set in the picking container. Farmers and their workers need to take care not to drop the fruit or jostle the container to avoid bruising. Handling fresh apples should be like handling eggs, especially in the case of apple quality grade 1. Unlike apples for fresh consumption, apples for processing do not require such treatment.

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Time Between Harvest and Arrival to the Market

Fruit quality and yield strongly depend on the time between harvesting and final delivery to the customers. This period should be as short as possible, so the customer can enjoy apples at their best quality. If this period takes longer, proper storage management can preserve fruits quality.

Storage Conditions

Storage management practices are the final step before fruit reach the customer. This phase is crucial for preserving fruit quality and reducing losses. Optimal storage conditions for apples are at a temperature between -1 and 4oC and high humidity of 90-95%, under which apples can survive for up to 12 months.

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To preserve fruit quality and to maintain yields, farmers must learn to manage harvest efficiently. A key factor to proper harvest is farmer’s observation and on time activities. Farmer’s ability to track the process of harvesting could make the difference between financial success and failure. Agrivi farm management software helps farmers to track all of their activities related to harvest, such as comparing expected yield with harvested quantity, recording of machinery and resources use or tracking work hours of workers. The software also provides complete and powerful production analyses, such as production per crop, field, and variety.

Handling of apple harvest is easier with Agrivi, use it now!

 

Text sources: OMAFRA || Gardening Know How || University of Minnesota

Image sources: Brenda's Berries & Orchards || Aomori Sightseeing Guide || Bizator