As a commercial olive farmer, you understand the delicate nature of olive harvesting due to the fragile nature of olive fruit skin. Therefore, most commercial farms still use manual means of harvesting olive fruits because it is the only sure way to keep the skin in good condition. However, this form of harvesting has its limitations. For instance, human workers can only do so much in as far as harvesting around the clock goes. That is why most farms use a shift system during bumper harvest season, but this is an expensive route. However, the future is bright because research is currently underway, and robotic harvesters are being tested for their capabilities as olive harvesters. This article highlights some of the capabilities that are making robotic olive harvesters must-have equipment for olive farmers.  

Determine Optimal Ripeness -- One challenging issue for farmers is finding skilled and experienced harvesters that know when the fruit has reached optimal ripeness. Such skilled farmworkers are few and far between, and they cost money to hire. Therefore, most farmers opt for pickers who have not been working on farms long enough. However, it increases the chances of picking semi-ripe olives, which eventually end up as waste. Since a robotic olive harvester is equipped with sophisticated algorithms, it uses many visual variables to determine the ripeness of fruit. If the visual inspection meets the set parameters, the robotic harvester decides to pick the fruit. It ensures that unripe olives get time to ripen, consequently reducing waste and increasing production.  

Vacuum Harvester -- As mentioned earlier, olive harvesting is a delicate process as farmworkers must possess a certain level of skill to ensure they don't damage the outer skin of the olive fruits. However, that doesn't rule out the possibility of such damage happening because human pickers are not perfect. Therefore, it is easy for them to apply too much pressure to the fruit and rip its skin off. Instead of an arm, the robotic olive harvester features a vacuum pump, which it engages once it detects a ripe fruit. It eliminates potential damage to the fruit's delicate skin.

24hr Harvesting -- Even though harvesters work in shifts in most commercial olive farms, they cannot work through the night. It is a limitation that only robotic olive harvesters can provide a solution to. The reason is that the equipment is equipped with special imaging technology that allows it to detect olive fruits even in the dark. It is a significant benefit for olive farmers because they can harvest the fruits round the clock, thereby improving productivity. The faster you clear the farm, the more time you have to prepare the farm for the next planting season.  

To learn more about olive harvesters, consult a resource in your area.