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Oxbo harvesters make gains in fresh market blueberry harvesting

In an effort to continually improve fruit quality and fruit retention, Oxbo worked with local growers to test various catching systems. Putting the Oxbo Ultra Low Loss catchers up against the competitors, the Oxbo catchers led the competition with only 9.4% fruit droppage; Littau dropped 12% and BEI Centipede catchers dropped 18%.

Testing was conducted on side-by-side rows. Tarps were laid down and attached to the blueberry plants and each harvester drove down a full row. Then, fruit collected by each harvester was weighed. Fruit on the ground was collected and also weighed. Dropped fruit weight was compared to collected fruit weight to determine the percentage of total droppage. Oxbo's Ultra Low Less catchers proved to drop less fruit—reducing droppage by up to 50%, when compared to round-style catchers.

“We understand that fruit retention is key to profitability for many growers, especially with lower prices,” said Brian Foote, Oxbo product representative. “That’s why we wanted to get the numbers in the field—to get together with the growers and optimize fruit retention. The tests proved the Ultra Low Loss system captured more fruit; plus, it doesn’t smash any berries like growers have discovered with the turning-wheel design.”

Growers also appreciate other key features of the Oxbo 8000, including the shortest drop from the belts to the bin and the most effective picking system on the market. Season after season, the unique Oxbo Oribrotor picking head picks fewer green berries and leaves more bloom than any other picking method.

The Oxbo 8000 has the least distance between catchers and picking unit and can effectively pick low hanging fruit and big bushes, making it the versatile choice for growers looking for high quality fruit and reliable performance. Oxbo Ultra Low Catchers are available from $5,500 and can be purchased as a retrofit kit for older harvesters, a substantially lower investment than other catcher kits on the market.

For more information on Oxbo blueberry harvesters, please contact Brian at 888.656.7826 or at berries@oxbocorp.com.