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Title: Harvesting and packing systems for snap beans, celery, sweet corn and Irish potatoes
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Title: Harvesting and packing systems for snap beans, celery, sweet corn and Irish potatoes
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Spurlock, A. H.
Publisher: Department of Agricultural Economics, Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
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Full Text






Agricultural Economics
Mimeo Report EC 70-5


October 1969


HARVESTING AND PACKING SYSTEMS FOR SNAP BEANS, CELERY, SWEET CORN
AND IRISH POTATOES.








Contents

Page

Introduction-------------------------- --------------------- 1
Method of Study--------------------------------------------- 2

Snap Beans------------------------------------ 2

Celery------------------------------------------------------ 10

Sweet Corn-------------------------------------------------- 22
Irish Potatoes---------------------------------------------- 35

Comparative Labor For Harvesting and Packing, by Methods---- 39


Department of Agricultural Economics
Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
Gainesville,Florida











HARVESTING AND PACKING SYSTEMS FOR SNAP BEANS, CELERY, SWEET CORN
AND IRISH POTATOES. 1/

A. H. Spurlock and D. L. Brooke



Introduction


Scarcity and uncertainty of labor along with increasing wage rates in
recent years have intensified the problem of harvesting and packing vegetable
crops. Harvesting by hand methods requires a much larger amount of labor for
many crops than is required in production and it must be available at the
right time to prevent loss of market quality or even loss of the crop.
Systems of harvesting and packing vegetables have been changing toward
increased mechanization of most of the processes. It has come slowly because
most vegetables are not easy to handle at all stages by mechanical means.
Mechanization of a process increases the productivity of the machine operators,
but requires of these workers more skill and a higher level of ability.
Productivity of other workers doing hand operations usually is not improved
and may even be decreased somewhat if more sorting or grading is required
after machine harvesting.
The total cost of machine use and labor is not increased in mechanized
operations over hand operations, and may be considerably reduced. While no
3/
comparative dollar costs have been previously prepared, except for snap beans,-
it is noted that custom operators or machines rented or under lease are pro-
viding services at a rate no more, and frequently much less, than hand har-
vesting.
1/
- These data were developed under the Southern Regional Marketing Project SM-30
and will become part of a Handbook to be published in the near future by the
cooperating states: Planning Data For Marketing Selected Fruits and Vegetables
in the South, Part III, Fresh Market Operations.
2/Agricultural Economist.
3/Brooke, D. L. and A. H. Spurlock. Cost of Harvesting Snap Beans by Machine.
Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Economics Mimeo Report EC 68-2. Oct. 1967.















Method of Study



The purpose of this study was to compare the equipment and labor re-
quirements for several methods of harvesting and packing four vegetable
crops.
Field observations were made to determine equipment used, crew re-

quired, normal operating rate or speed, and output of packed product.
Harvesting and packing machinery were studied separately, except when com-
bined as in a "mule train" or mobile harvester. This means that a pros-
pective user has to balance the harvesting machinery output with the output
of the packing facility. This adjustment cannot always be made perfectly
since adding one unit of equipment may represent a large increment of out--
put in some phase of the whole operation. Any imbalance in a crew or equip-
ment, however caused, will increase equipment and labor requirements above
those shown in the tables following.
Crop yield affects machine and labor requirements per-acre or per 1,000
units packed. Not enough observations could be obtained to provide output
coefficients for many yield levels, however. The method used was to establish
bench marks at one or more yields and estimate requirements above and below
that point.

Snap Beans
In the past growers of snap beans depended entirely on a large supply
of labor at harvest time. As the harvest labor supply became less plentiful
some large acreages were sometimes abandoned. Harvesting machines developed
by established manufacturers in the recent past were first used only on
beans destined for processing. They were then slowly adopted on the second
picking of fresh market beans. When first used on beans for fresh market,
wholesale buyers objected and sometimes discounted the price below that of
hand-picked beans. This discrimination seems to have largely disappeared
and a larger proportion of fresh-market beans are machine picked.

Snap beans for machine harvesting should be in rows of uniform width with
the soil left as level as practical. Comparatively long rows promote effici-

ency of the harvesting operation by saving on turning time and the wastage of












beans at the ends of the row. Some varieties are also better adapted for
machine harvesting. Since there is no second picking of beans harvested by
machine, simultaneous maturity of pods is desirable.
In Figure 1 a flow diagram is shown indicating, in sequence, the princ-
ipal operations or processes in machine harvesting, packing and delivering
to the sales platform of fresh-market snap beans. Descriptive blocks are
used for operations instead of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers'
symbols and no breakdown into elements is attempted. The picking machine
diagrammed has a 2-wheel trailer attached on which the beans are sacked from
a chute and transported to the turn-row and subsequently to the grader. In
some states bulk pallet bins or bulk dump trailers are used instead of sacks
to receive the picked beans. They are used in Florida for processing beans
and may represent an advanced technology for fresh market beans, but will
require further adaptations,even to the dumping at the grader.
In Table 1 are given the principal items of equipment and supplies re-
quired for harvesting and packing snap beans, together with labor rates and
approximate purchase prices of equipment in 1968. Not all the equipment items
are required for any one method or system of operating, but they may be com-
bined as needed for the alternative chosen. The specific equipment needed
for picking snap beans by hand is listed in Table 2, and for machine picking
in Table 3. Both equipment items and labor requirements are considered about
minimum needs for average conditions, but may be increased by unusual circum-
stances. However, an increased scale of operations often permits better co-
ordination or balance of equipment and more efficient use. For example, one
mechanical bean harvester requires a truck to transport the picked beans to
the grader. The truck might also serve two machines adequately if the grader
is not too distant, or the yield low, thus lowering the equipment and the
labor required per unit.
Snap beans picked by hand or by a mechanical picker are graded and packed
into bushel wirebound crates or bushel hampers for market. The grading pro-
cess is partly mechanical (sizing drum, blower and belt) and partly by hand
(dumping, sorting, grading, filling and closing crates). The grading facility
may be installed in a fixed building or in a field unit which can be towed to














different locations for proximity to the picking operation. The organization

of the crew and labor requirement for grading appear to be similar by either
method.
In Table 4 are given equipment and labor requirements to operate a field
grader for snap beans at stated output rates per hour. The grader begins
operation after the picking crew has harvested enough beans to avoid delays
in waiting for supplies. This may be near noon as picking begins only after
the dew dries. The grader continues until all beans picked that day are
packed.
If the grading facility and the field picking are conducted by the same
operator, there is always a problem of coordination of the entire operation
for best efficiency. The operator may wish to harvest a given number of acres
per day (adjusting both segments)or he may run the grader at capacity and
adjust the picking crew to its output.
As seen in Tables 2 and 3 and in the summary Table 21 harvesting by
machine results in a very large saving in labor. Hand picking and deliver-
ing to the grader required about 27 times as much labor as machine picking
at a yield of 125 bushels per acre. For the complete operation of harvesting
grading and packing and delivering to market the comparative labor require-
ments per 1000 crates or hampers of beans packed were as follows:

Hours of labor
System per 1000 crates
Hand picking, grading and packing 1,184
Machine picking, grading and packing 174

Bean picking machines are expensive in first cost, but for an operation
large enough to justify, the cost per unit picked is much less than hand
picking.









Fig.l-HARVESTING


SNAP BEANS WITH 2-ROW MACHINE, GRADING, PACKING AND
DELIVERING TO MARKET.


Harvesting Machine:


Bean


trucks:


Grader:


truck returns to
area


pread on belt &
ort out trash
aid of fan)


;et off filled
:rates and cap


* Some operators use tractors and trailers to transport from field to grader.













TABLE 1.--EQUIPMENT PRICES AND LABOR RATES, SNAP BEAN HARVESTING AND PACKING
FLORIDA, 1968


Labor Equipment, Supplies
Rate / Initial Cost Estimated
Per Hour- Per Unit Service Life
Equipment:

Chisholm-Ryder 2-row bean harvester,
Diesel, and sacker-trailer $17,000 8
Flat bed truck,l ton (field to grader) 3,000 6
Stake truck, 4 ton 4,000 6
Tractor light farm 2,600 8
2-wheel trailer for tractor (custom) 300 10
Crew truck 2/ 4,000 10
Bean sizer & grader belt assembly
with top (moveable) 4,500 10
Flat bed semi-trailer (for crates) 3/ 2,500 10
Pick up truck 2,400 6
Labor:
Drivers, harvesting machine $1.50
Sack beans on harvester 1.25
Haul beans to grader 1.50
Pickers, piece rate, first picking .80 bu.
Loaders and luggers 1.25
Haul beans to market 1.50
Grading belt labor 1.25
Foreman 2.50
Supplies:
Picking hampers, 1 bushel each $0.40
2 bushel burlap sacks, each .20
Gasoline, gallon .30
Diesel fuel, gallon .26
Motor oil, gallon 1.80
1 bushel wirebound crates, each .40
1/
Before payroll taxes, and workmen's compensation insurance averaging 9 per-
cent of payroll. Perquisites may also be furnished, such as housing, lights,
water and transportation.
2/ Often not owned by grower. Contractor frequently secures crew and transports
daily at $0.75 to $1.00 each, paid by grower.
3/ One-half new price. Often not owned by grower.






























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-10-


Celery


Mechanical cutting machines have been developed in the past few years
to cut celery stalks in the ground, trim the tops to a uniform length and
elevate the stalks by conveyor into a bulk truck body or a following mule
train (mobile harvester). The mechanical cutter, usually custom built, is

commonly 2-row but may be 1-row or even 10-row when designed to precede a

mobile harvester. Celery cutting by hand is strenuous stooping labor with
complete exposure to sun and may sometimes be a handicap to the harvesting
operation. This is eliminated by the mechanical cutter.
When celery is cut and loaded into a bulk carrier it is transported
either to a packinghouse (wash house) for washing, sizing and packing or
to a converted stationary mule train with washing facilities and sometimes
with an added stripping and grading shed.
Also in use are the 18-24 row self-propelled mobile harvesters with
hand cutting, on which is done the complete cutting, washing and packing
operation. Thus the specific combinations of methods and equipment for
cutting and packing celery are numerous and the operator must choose a
system and adapt it to his needs. He may initiate a revision of his
present operation by utilizing as much as possible of the equipment al-
ready on hand.
In Figure 2 is shown a flow diagram indicating the principal labor
operations and the sequence of movement of celery harvested with a mech-
anical cutter and packed in a packinghouse with contiguous precooler.
The order is similar when packing is done in a converted mule train but
facilities are different, and packed celery must be transported to a pre-
cooler.
The flow of celery when cut and packed on a mobile harvester is given
in Figure 3 for a typical operation, though some variations in exact pro-
cedure have been observed.

The principal items of equipment and supplies required for cutting
and packing celery, with labor rates and approximate initial prices of
equipment in 1968, are given in Table 5. Some of the equipment is custom
built and highly variable as to price and exact specifications. The
minimum requirements for any system may be derived from Tables6 and 7 for
cutting with a 1-row or 2-row mechanical cutter; from Table 8 for wash-
ing and packing in a packinghouse; and from Table 9 for washing and pack-
ing in a converted mule train. Labor and equipment required for mobile




-11-


harvesters are given in Tables 10 and 11. The data in each of these tables
are only for the operation stated. For example, the labor in Table 7 is
only for cutting celery and delivering to a packing facility and precooler.
It must still be packed and precooled to compare with the complete operation
of a mobile harvester and precooler. Thus the operator must combine various
segments into a balanced operation for maximum efficiency.
At yields of 700 crates per acre comparative labor requirements per 1000
crates of celery packed were as follows:

Hours of labor
Systemper 1000 crates
(Cutting & packing)

1-row cutting machine & converted mule train - - 240
2-row cutting machine & converted mule train - - 234
2-row cutting and packinghouse - - - - 179
24-row mule train - - - - - - 197
10-row cutter and mule train - - - - 232



The cost of operating the various systems is not indicated by the labor
requirements. While the cost per crate for machine cutting is apparently no
more, and may be less than for hand cutting, the cost of the packing facility
and of other equipment may counter-balance the labor saving cost-wise. The
cost per unit of pack for expensive, high-capacity equipment will depend upon
the extent of its use.





-12-


Figure 2.-CELERY PACKING WITH CUTTING MACHINE AND PACKINGHOUSE,BELLE GLADE


Field: Packinghouse:


Make up wirebound
celery crates


Checker

I.
Set off on pallets
by size


Fork lift to pre-
cooler

N,
oad & strip,car or
truck





-13-


Figure 3.--CELERY PACKING WITH MOBILE HARVESTER, BELLE GLADE,FLORIDA


Mobile Harvester:


Drive Mobile
Harvester


Hand cut & strip cel-
lerb~lace on convey-
J,

Position stalks on
belt for topping


Cut tops-'rotary saw'




Washer (pressure
I Nv -y)


Make up wirebound
celery crates


j Chute crates to low-
! ~.. er level of harvested


Reauy crate e liner
for packer

J.
Grade & size Celery




Pack in crate


I,
Set off crate onto
gravity conveyor

J,


Trucks (empty-crate
supply)


IDrive truck to field Coun
side for empty crates


Load empty crates on Load
truck at field side


Haul empty crates to Driv
mobile harvester


Unload empty crates
atop harvester


Hitch truck to Har- -
vester

-----Truck returns to field
Truck returns to field


lose crates


1




J,1
it & check crates




crates in truck




e truck to pre- -
cooler


Precooler:


~Ti
I
I
I
I
I
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i
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I
I
I
t
I
t
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
i
I
I
I
I
I
I
I


Unload crates onto
precooler platform


4
Crates to temporary
storage,by size


Place crates on con-
veyor to precooler

41

From precooler to ca
or trk.via conveyor
J,

Apply paste & labels




Load & strip in car


------ --------------I


L C


spra "yY


T





-14-


TABLE 5.-EQUIPMENT PRICES AND LABOR RATES, CELERY HARVESTING AND PACKING, FLORIDA


Labor
Rate
Per Hour


Equipment, Supplies


Initial Cost
Per Unit


Estimated
Service Life


Equipment:/
Celery cutting machine 1-row
Celery cutting machine 2-row
Truck with conveyor bottom
Tractor extra large
4-wheel trailer, high sides
"Mule train"converted, with stripping shed
Wheel tractor small (remove stripping)
2-wheel tractor cart (remove strippings)
Dump truck (remove strippings)
Pick-up truck
Crew truck 3/
Stake truck,tandem axle, dual wheels
Fork-lift truck
Packinghouse, 1 line
Precooler (hydrocooler)
Mobile harvester,(mule train)18-25 row
Water tank truck, centrifugal pump 3/
Semi-trailer, flat bed (empty crates) 3/
10-row cutting machine & mobile harvester


2/
Labor: -
Foremen
Drivers (trucks,tractors,
machines)
Drivers,fork-lift trucks
Grading and packing labor
Precooling plant labor
Supplies:
Gasoline, gallon
Diesel fuel, gallon
Motor oil, gallon
Celery crate and liner, each


(years)
$7,000 8
18,000 8
3,000 8
7,000 8
4,500 8
28,000 10
2,600 8
300 10
3,000 8
2,400 6
4,000 10
6,000 8
6,000 10
(65 feet X 110 feet)

24,000 10
1,800 6
2,500 10
45,000 10


$2.50

1.50
1.65
1.25
1.60


$0.30
.26
1.80
.48


1/Before payroll taxes and workmen's compensation insurance averaging 9 percent of
payroll. Perquisites may be given also.
/ Grower may contract with others to furnish some or all the services in harvesting
and packing, in which case the contract operator supplies the equipment and labor.
Large operators may have a maintenance truck and a caterpillar tractor, with appro-
priate labor, in the field.
3/Not new equipment price. May not be owned by grower.
Not new equipment price. May not be owned by grower.


Item


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-22-


Sweet Corn


Sweet corn is a newcomer to the Florida vegetable industry, production
having begun only after World War II. However, comparatively efficient
methods were rapidly developed for harvesting and packing. Pulling ears
from the stalk was a hand operation and required considerable labor.
Machines, devised by men close to the sweet corn growing and harvesting
operation, have come into use recently to save the hand-harvesting labor.
The mechanical harvesting machines are expensive, but not more so than
hand-harvesting and they are apparently doing a better job of cleaning the
field of all marketable corn. When harvesting, by hand or machine, only
one trip is made through the field, hence there is no problem of machines
destroying a second harvest.
Figure 4 is a flow diagram indicating the principal operations and the
sequence of movement of sweet corn when hand-harvested into tractor-drawn
field trailers and packed from these vehicles. In Figure 5 sweet corn
harvesting operations are shown when done with a 2-row self-propelled
mechanical harvester and graded and packed in a packinghouse with integral
precooler. The operations are similar when the packing is done in a con-
verted mobile harvester (mule train) except that pallets and forklift trucks
are not used and the packed corn must be transported to a precooler. In
Figure 6 is shown sweet corn harvesting operations with a 2-row mechanical
harvester and field packing from tractor-trailers into which harvested.
The complete operation of harvesting and packing with a conventional 16-row
mobile harvester is outlined in Figure 7.
The principal items of equipment and supplies required for cutting and
packing sweet corn, with labor rates and approximate initial prices of equip-
ment in 1968 are given in Table 12. Some of the equipment is custom built
or adapted and therefore variable as to price and exact specifications.
The minimum equipment and labor requirements under average conditions
and stated yields or output rates are given in Table 13 for hand-harvesting
sweet corn with tractors and field trailers. Harvesting with a 2-row self
propelled mechanical harvester into tractor-drawn trailers in tandem along-
by
side is shown in Table 14. The corn harvested/either of the two methods
above may be packed either from field trailers into which harvested, as out-
lined in Table 15, or in a packinghouse as given in Table 16. The packing-








-23-


house is assumed to have a precooler adjacent, but the sweet corn from the
field packing operation must be transported to a precooler. Sweet corn
harvested either by hand or machine may also be packed in a converted mobile
harvester (mule train) in a fixed location with intake conveyor and grading
shed added. Equipment and labor required for this operation are shown in
Table 17. The packed corn must be transported to a precooler.
In Table 18 are shown equipment and labor for harvesting and packing
sweet corn with a conventional 16-row mobile harvester. After packing, the
corn must be delivered to a precooler.
At yields of 200 crates per acre, comparative labor requirements per
1000 crates of sweet corn packed were as follows:


Hours of labor
System per 1,000 crates
(harvesting & packing)

Hand-harvest and pack from field trailers - - - 179
Harvest with 2-row machine and pack in converted "mule train"- 121
Harvest with 2-row machine and pack in packinghouse - 118
Harvest and pack with 16-row "mule train" - - - 127

Labor requirements per 1000 crates packed do not indicate the relative
cost of the various systems. While the cost per crate for machine harvesting
is no more and may be less than for hand harvesting, the cost of the other
harvesting and packing facilities may change the advantage of a given system
based on hours of labor used. The cost per crate for expensive, high-capacity
equipment will depend upon the extent of its annual use.





-24-


FIGURE 4.-SWEET CORN HARVESTING, BY HAND PULLING AND PACKING FROM FIELD
TRAILER, BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA



Crate-Supply Truck:


ILoad empty crates on
truck at fieldside
-1
Haul empty crates to
packing area

J,
Unload in packing
area

SDrive truck to field-
side for empty crates


Tractors and Field
Trailers:


Packing Area:

Make up & stack
crates


Drive tractor-traile-
in field


Pull ears and throw
in trailer

JI
Drive trailer to pac
ing area & position
>** l


Haul cull ears to
dump area


Corn Transport Trucks:


Grade & pack on stand
beside trailer
,1
Check & count packed
crates


Drive back to
to reload


Load packed crates __Close crates & stack
in truck


Haul to precooler

4-


Unload at precooler
platform I


SDrive truck back to
packing area


Precooler:


Temporary platform
storage,by grade


J,
From storage through
precooler

Precooler to car or
truck by conveyor


Apply paste and
label

Load & strip in car
Load & strip in car


field





-25-


FIGURE 5.-SWEET CORN HARVESTING


Field Harvesting Area:


Drive self-propelled
2-row machine

1,
Drive tractor & 4-
Swheel trailed along-


Drive loaded trailer
to packinghouse


WITH 2-ROW MACHINE AND PACKINGHOUSE GRADING,
FLORIDA


Packinghouse:


Unload corn onto
conveyor


Sort trash & distri-
hbt on nntoackers


J Make up and distri-
/ bute empty crates
.....- J_ I


1~~~~r


Get crates, grade ec
pack


Close crates & stack


Forklift stacks into
precooler


* Some operators use trucks.


*1


~^s. ^Y-L^






-26-


FIGURE 6.-SWEET CORN HARVESTING WITH 2-ROW MACHINE, AND PACKING FROM
FIELD TRAILERS, BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA.


Field Harvesting Area:


Drive self-propelled
2-row machine

J,
Drive tractor and 4-
-- wheel trailer alongside


Field Packing Area:

Haul up empty crates
with truck


Erect & distribute
crates


I 14-wheel trailer left
for packing operation


Rake down & sort
trash in trailer


Grade & pack from
trailer


Empty trailer back t
harvesting area


Close & stack crates


Precooling:


Unload truck at pre-
cooler platform


L

by conveyor through
precooler


Precooler to car or
truck by conveyor


Apply labels


d strip in car
Load & strip in car


Load packed crates
onto truck

II
-- Drive truck to pre-
---- cooler






-27-

FIGURE 7.-SWEET CORN HARVESTING AND PACKING, WITH 16-ROW MOBILE HARVESTER
(MULE TRAIN) BELLE GLADE, FLORIDA.


Mobile Corn Harvester:


Crate Assembly:


Make up crates


Chute crates to lower
level of harvester


Corn Transport Trucks:

Load empty crates on
truck at field side


Haul empty crates to
harvester

,1
Unload crates atop
harvester


Hitch truck to har-
vester


Haul to precooler


4


rive truck to field-
ide for empty crates


Precooler:


I I





-28-


TABLE 12.-EQUIPMENT PRICES AND LABOR RATES, SWEET
FLORIDA


Item


Labc
Rate
Per HII


2/
Equipment:-
Corn harvesting machine 2-row
Farm tractor, small
4-wheel trailers, drop sides
Mobile harvester, converted for
stationary packing
Pick-up truck
Stake-body truck, tandem axle
Crew truck
Dump truck (refuse)
Packinghouse and equipment
Precooler (hydrocooler)
Fork-lift trucks
Semi-trailer for empty crates 3/
Packer stands,4-leg, steel
200-gallon water barrel on wheels
16-row mobile harvester (mule train)
Crate-closing tool
Tractor, extra large
4-wheel trailer, high sides


CORN HARVESTING AND PACKING,


)r Equipment, Supplies
Initial Cost Estimated
rur 1/ Per Unit Service Life
(years)


$18,000
2,600
400

18,000
2,400
6,000
4,000
3,500
(50 X 80 feet)

6,000
2,500
20
100
16,000
12
7,500
4,500


Labor: 2/
Foremen
Packing foreman
Drivers,trucks,tractors,machines
Drivers,fork-lift trucks
Mechanic
Packers, per crate
"i I! it
Other grading & packing labor
Precooling plant labor
Supplies:
Gasoline, gallon
Motor oil, gallon
Diesel fuel, gallon
Corn crates, each


$2.50
2.00
1.50
1.65
2.00
.08 hand pulled corn
.09 machine pulled corn
1.25
1.60


$ 0.30
1.80
.26
.38


1/ Before payroll taxes and workmen's compensation insurance, averaging 9 percent
of payroll. Perquisites may be given also.
2/Growers may contract with others to furnish some or all the services in har-
vesting and packing, wherein the contract operator supplies equipment and labor.
Large operators may have also a maintenance truck and a caterpillar tractor,with
appropriate labor, in the field. Before harvesting some growers also use a top
cutter (high mounted) tractor with rotary blades.
3/Not new equipment price. May not be grower-owned.






-29-


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-35-



Irish Potaotes

Mechanical harvesters for Irish potatoes have been in general use in all
growing-areas in Florida for a number of years. The principal operations
and sequence of movement of Irish potatoes at Hastings are shown in the
flow diagram in Figure 8. Equipment prices and labor rates in 1968 are
given in Table 19. The number of units of equipment and the quantity of
labor required for the digging operation by 2-row mechanical harvester and
delivering to the packing shed are given in Table 20. The labor required
varies with the yield per acre which affects the output rate of the machine.







-36-


FIGURE 8.-HARVESTING POTATOES WITH 2-ROW MACHINE AND DELIVERING TO PACKINGHOUSE,
HASTINGS, FLORIDA




Harvesting Machine:


Operate tractor and
2-row harvester

J,
Sort out vines and
clods on harvester


Trucks:


iDrive truck with Hoppei Potatoes into truck
body beside harvester body by conveyor


Drive loaded truck
to packinghouse


SUnload truck with con-
Empty truck returns to field veyor bottom into flum


Packinghouse:







-37-


TABLE 19.-EQUIPMENT PRICES AND LABOR RATES FOR HARVESTING
HASTINGS, FLORIDA.


IRISH POTATOES


Labor Equipment, Supplies
Item Rate Cost Service
Per Hour Per Unit Life
Equipment: (years)

2-row mechanical harvester $10,500 7
Tractor to pull harvester 8,200 8
Trucks to haul potaotes 3,600 8
Hopper-type truck bodies with conveyor bottom 800 10
Electric motor for unloading 100 5

1/
Labor:
Tractor drivers $1.50
Harvesting machine operators 1.50
Truck drivers 1.50
Other harvest labor 1.15


Supplies:
Diesel fuel for tractor (per gal.) $0.26
Gasoline for trucks (per gal.) .30
Motor oil (per gal.) 1.80
Grease (per lb.) .25

/ Before payroll taxes and workmen's compensation insurance averaging 9 percent
of payroll.








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Comparative Labor For Harvesting and Packing by Various Methods

The comparative harvesting and packing labor required for the various
systems used are summarized for snap beans, celery and sweet corn in Table
21. These are taken from the preceding detailed tables outlining equipment
and labor required. All the comparisons for each commodity are stated at
one yield level, which is near the average found in the field observations.
A change in yield affects the number of workers required in the crew, the
output rate and the hours of labor per unit harvested or packed.
It should be noted that under each crop some of the methods are for
harvesting only, some for grading and packing only, and some may combine
harvesting and packing. It is necessary to consider this when comparing
systems for labor requirements per unit. Also useful in balancing items
of equipment is the last column giving "acres-per-hour this operation".
Since the yield is assumed constant for each crop the acres-per-hour for
each method can be directly compared. For example, in snap beans yielding
125 packed bushels per acre a crew of 86 workers is required to pick 0.66
acre per hour. However, the grading and packing facility with 27 workers
would pack the beans from 1.60 acres per hour. Therefore, about 208 workers
1.60ac X86 = 208would be required to keep the packing operation going.
.66 8
Or the operator might lower the number of workers on the grader, or reduce
the number of hours per day it operated to achieve a balance. For machine
picking of beans at the stated rates it would require the output of 2.6
machines to match the grader. Here the decision on whether to own 2 or 3
machines is affected by many things, as the operator synchronizes his whole
plan including other crops. If uncomplicated by other considerations he
should perhaps strive to have a little excess capacity in the picking
machines. This will avoid idling many workers at the grader should a break-
down or stoppage for some reason occur. It also gives better capacity for
an emergency (impending freeze) while the grader can operate at night in
an emergency. Balanced against this, picking machines are expensive, and
doubly so for short-season operation.








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