As the platform moves along between rows of trees, workers can pick from both rows at the same time. The platform is lowered and raised as needed so workers can reach all of the fruit.
Fitted with work lights, the prototype went into phase two of the test at Riveridge when a second crew was trained and the machine was put on a two-shift schedule.
“That could really be crucial when you get to the end of the season and need to get the rest of your fruit in fast because cold weather is coming,” Armock said.
After harvest, the platform can continue to save growers money by speeding the pruning process by eliminating ladder work. Brown said he believes one platform could harvest 75 to 100 acres per season if it was used for two 10-hour shifts a day.