Harvesting has become the bottleneck of the olive oil industry, and the shortage of agricultural workers is the main motivation behind the search for mechanical solutions. The efficiency of three mechanical olive-harvesting systems and methods was measured in the course of two seasons, and their advantages and disadvantages were evaluated. None of the trunk shakers and their associated harvesting methods was sufficiently efficient to enable the number of people needed to strike the branches with sticks to be reduced. Vine harvesters of the type used for harvesting olives were found to leave significant quantities of olives on the trees.A two-stage harvesting method was also tested and found to be feasible. It is based on a gentle harvest of mature fruits early in the season, followed by a complementary strip-harvest at a later stage of maturity. The results do not seem to support the economic viability of this harvesting method for cv. 'Barnea', but it may be suitable for cv. 'Frantoio', which is known as a hard-to-harvest variety.
- mechanical harvest