Net positive economic impact from mechanical thinning (realized economic savings beyond hand thinning alone) ranged from $236-1,490 per acre and $264-934 per acre for processing and fresh fruit plantings respectively, with the exception of one treatment in which the economic impact was negative. According to Baugher, "increased fruit size had a greater positive impact for fresh market producers, while labor savings and yield increases (due to larger fruit size) were of greater importance for canning peach growers."
In another aspect of the reportcase study interviews with 11 Pennsylvania growers and orchard managers who had used the prototypeinterviewees suggested that commercial adoption of mechanical string thinning technology would have positive impacts on the work place. All case study participants reported that the technique made crop load management more efficient and reduced follow-up hand-thinning time, while 80% of the growers noted that fruit from thinned trees were larger. Growers observed that the string thinner allowed hand thinning of peaches to be completed earlier, allowing more timely work in other crops. They also found that employees were satisfied with mechanical thinning, as it saved them time and minimized ladder use, and that the seasonal distribution of labor-intensive work was improved.
The string thinner prototype developed for the study has been commercialized and will be manufactured in both North America and Germany.
|Contact: Michael W. Neff|
American Society for Horticultural Science