Harvest to begin

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

As everybody is preparing to start harvesting, it looks like we maybe getting some much needed moisture ($$).

A few reminders about fruit quality and keeping harvested weights high.

- Berries start to lose weight as soon as they are harvested.  Getting them to the processor as soon as possible after harvest saves weight and keeps berry quality high.

- Harvesting in wet conditions decreases fruit quality and increases debris in the tote or box.  In grassy fields this can actually mean a significantly lower harvest efficiency (less berries in the box).  Try and pick weedy fields when dry.

- Don't over fill boxes or bins.  This leads to berries being crushed and damaged, which will lead to leaking.  Juice running out of a box is you're money running onto the ground!!!  It also greatly impacts fruit quality on the processor end.

- Keep harvesters maintained!!!  No harvester gets 100% of the berries on the bush, but it is very easy to lose 5-10% more berries than normal and not know it.  Keep picking heads clean, maintain teeth and make sure heads and belts are running at optimum.  This should be checked multiple times every day!!

There is a lot of pressure at this time of year to get the harvest done, but remember this is where you make your money. Make sure you are getting as many of the berries as possible into the box and get the berries to the broker or processor as quick and as smooth as possible.  We sometimes forget, the wild blueberry is a delicate, soft skin berry.