Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952 Page: 13
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AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING 13
and places fresh silage in bunks 60 feet long. Animals may feed from
either side of the bunk. The silage conveyor works well in silos 14
feet or larger in diameter and effects a 40-percent saving in time required
for feeding down the silage. The powered cleat-chain bunk
saves from one-third to one-half of the time formerly required in silage
conveyance and distribution because it eliminates second handling.
Picking lemons mechanically
Mechanical picking of lemons with a new-type lemon clipper developed
by the California station has increased the actual fruitpicking
rate in California by 30 percent and increased the over-all
rate in harvesting productivity 10 percent during 1951 field trials.
The clipper blades are placed on the lemon button and closed. The
blades ride on the button and cut the stem off at its juncture with the
fruit. This operation greatly reduces the number of lemons rejected
on the market as "cut-buttons."
With this new clipper the picker merely finds the fruit and cuts it
from the stem at the button. This avoids the older practice of cutting
the stem twice, which consumes approximately 24 percent of the time
required to select and cut the lemon from the tree.
Because of a special finish on the cutting edges of the new clipper its
wear rate is considerably longer than that of the old-model clippers
that do not hold an edge for very long periods. Thus frequent sharpening
in the field is not necessary. In fact, the new cutter cannot be
sharpened in the field, but the expected use-life of its cutting edges
is so long that keeping the cutter sharp does not present a serious
Sorting lemons electronically by color
In connection with a joint study of problems unsolved in the marketing
of fruits, an electronic machine for sorting lemons according to
color under packing house conditions has been developed by the agricultural
engineers and economists at the California station (coop.
USDA). A similar machine for electronically sizing lemons was reported
Perfection of the color sorter followed discovery that in a particular
portion of the infrared region of the spectrum, yellow lemons had
90-percent reflectivity, whereas dark green ones had only 10 percent.
The new machine measures the amount of light reflected by the lemon.
A metering device feeds the lemons in single file into a sorting chamber.
When the lemon passes through a bank of light-sensitive cells, its
reflectivity response sets up a series of electrical operations. Impulses
in the power circuits of the system control gates that route the fruit
into its correct color class. The single-unit machine now available
sorts four to five lemons a second, and a new unit of higher capacity
is now being constructed.
Since the amount of chorophyl present affects the amount of light
reflected to the light-sensitive cells, this color sorter may prove useful
in grading other farm products that are marketed largely on a state-ofmaturity
basis. Laboratory tests indicate that red apples, oranges,
and tomatoes could be commercially sorted with the color-sorting
machine by making minor changes in it.
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United States. Office of Experiment Stations. Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952, book, January 1953; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5990/m1/15/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.