colheita mecanizada Repolho

colheita mecanizada Repolho

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JARQ 38 (2), 97 103 (2004)

Development and Utilization of a New Mechanized Cabbage Harvesting System for Large Fields

Mitsuru HACHIYA1*, Tetsuro AMANO2, Makoto YAMAGATA3 and Makoto KOJIMA3

1,3Department of Integrated Research, National Agricultural Research Center for Hokkaido Region

(Kasai, Hokkaido 082 0071, Japan) 2Department of Integrated Research, National Agricultural Research Center for Hokkaido Region (Sapporo, Hokkaido 065 8555, Japan)


In establishing a technology system for labor saving in cabbage production, the most important issues are streamlining harvesting, reducing the work load, and reducing the amount of time required. We developed a mechanized trailer-supported harvesting system for cabbage growers in upland field areas. The system will benefit family-managed farms. The system, which requires only three people to operate, consists of a harvester, remote-controlled tractor, and a trailer, where the cabbage can be processed, boxed and palletized. We investigated the suitability of this system from the point of work efficiency, ergonomics, and farm management through trials on a commercial farm. This article presents the results of the field tests of the system.

Discipline: Agricultural machinery Additional keywords: harvester, trailer system, labor saving, ergonomics, upland agriculture


In large-scale upland rotation-crop areas in Tokachi-

Hokkaido, the average farm household has primarily been cultivating wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, and beans on upland fields of about 30 ha of land. The prices of these crops have stagnated. To maintain farm household incomes, and to increase the variety of rotation crops, farmers have had to introduce vegetable production. Although the profitability of vegetable production per 10 a exceeds that of wheat or soybeans, the amount of time required per unit area is much higher than that for other crops. As shown in Fig. 1, compared to wheat (2 h•person/10 a), and soybeans (1 h•person/10 a), vegetables such as Chinese yam, edible burdock (sorted individually), and cabbage require many more hours of work: 51 h•person/10 a, 63 h•person/10 a, and 48 h•person/10 a, respectively3. Under such conditions even if agricultural expenditures rise and agricultural income per 10 a generated in vegetable production somewhat decreases, if the area of vegetable production can be greatly expanded by mechanization, total agricultural income generated by the farm can be expanded. Development of labor saving technology in such a direction is necessary in the Tokachi region. Cabbage had shown constant increases in planted area, but after peaking at 2,820 ha in 1995 planted area started to decrease. It decreased to 2,080 ha, or 70% of its peak, in 2001. The decline in prices, caused by vegetable imports, has contributed to this trend, but other factors for the decrease have been a shortage of labor for harvesting and the heavy workload involved in manual harvesting1,6.

Outline of the mechanized trailer-supported cabbage harvesting system

The testing of the new mechanized trailer-supported cabbage harvesting system was conducted with the goal of quickly introducing it to regular cabbage production. The system is considered to be the first step in a semiautomated system that addresses the needs of large-scale cultivation. Examination of the new system of mechanized cab-

Present address: 1Crop Production Machinery and System Department, Institute of Agricultural Machinery (Saitama, Saitama 331 8537, Japan) *Corresponding author: fax +81 48 654 7129; e-mail Received 25 September 2003; accepted 24 February 2004.

M. Hachiya et al.

98JARQ 38 (2) 2004


Wheat Sugar beet

Potato for fresh market (individual sorted)

Irish potato for fresh market

Potato for processing

Adzuki bean Soybean

Kidney bean Sweet corn

Chinese yam

Cabbage mechanical harvesting

Cabbage conventional

Amount of time required (h person/10 a) Vegetables

Labor intensity between ordinary upland crops & vegetables

Labor intensive ordinary upland crops

Labor saving ordinary upland crops bage harvesting was conducted with consideration for its early introduction in the field. The system is considered to be the first step in improving a man-machine system that addresses the need for large-lot cultivation. Mechanization and rationalization of product handling and a decrease in costs have been realized through use of a tractor and a trailer, both of which are already owned by ordinary cabbage growers. A tractor and a trailer were the platform of the system, to which were attached simple equipment such as a belt-conveyer and a roller-conveyer. Outlines of each part of the system are as follows:

(1) The harvester was developed jointly by the

BRAIN-Institute of Agricultural Machinery and a private company through the Urgent Development of Agricultural Machinery and It s Commercial Enterprises Project , and was commercialized in late 2001. The harvester guides and pulls out cabbage plants using 2 counter-rotating disks. Another rotating disc blade cuts off the stem and outer leaves while cabbages are carried up toward the rear of the machine, where processing equipment cuts off any remaining unnecessary parts. The design concept of the manufacture of this harvester origi-

Fig. 1. Agricultural income vs. amount of time required by crop5

The calculations are based on the results of a survey conducted in Memuro-Tokachi. Vegetable prices are based on the Annual Report on Wholesale Market of Vegetables and Fruits, Sapporo Market. The agricultural income is after agricultural cash expenses and depreciation expenses were subtracted from the agricultural gross income. The family labor expenses are not included in the agricultural expenses.

Fig. 2. Cabbage harvester improved for one-man operation

A New Mechanized Cabbage Harvesting System for Large Fields

nally called for operation by 2 workers. We improved this machine to be operable by one person stationed at the rear of the machine, who is able to steer and to adjust the cutting height and traveling speed (Fig. 2). (2) The tractor portion of the system is controlled by

Worker A, the harvester operator, who is able to control the engine speed, steer, and shut down engine devices in case of an emergency. The tractor pulls a trailer, the third part of the system, which has a hydraulic conveyer protruding horizontally and carries the cabbage to the trailer from the harvester (Fig. 3). It is easy to adjust manually. This improvement made it possible for Worker A to safely and easily load the cabbage onto the conveyer.

The conveyer gradient is also easily adjustable. Worker B, riding on the trailer, picks the cabbage off the belt conveyer and processes cabbage by removing 2 or 3 outer leaves then placing it on the rotary stocker. On the left side of the trailer, 2 roller conveyers are installed for packaging and loading. The first sloped conveyer carries stacks of empty corrugated boxes (5 boxes per stack) to Worker C, and the second conveyer is used as a work table for Worker C, who puts 7 or 8 heads into each box, depending on the shipping standards. The second conveyer also carries the packed boxes to the rear of the trailer to be stacked on pallets by Worker C. Each pallet contains 50 boxes (according to the current shipping method). The trailer has space for 3 pallets, which can hold cabbage from 3.2 a (One returning operation can cover an area of 1.2 m (0.6 m×2 rows), and a row length of approx. 270 m. Therefore, the harvested area is 270×1.2 = 320 m2 or approx. 3.2 a).

Working performance of the harvesting system

Prior to field testing the trailer-supported cabbage harvesting system on a commercial farm in Tokachi, a test was conducted to estimate the quality of work of the harvester. 3 varieties of cabbage were used ball type, sour type and kandama type. From 1.5 to 3.0% of the harvested heads were discarded because they were cut too deeply by the machine, and are considered a cutting loss . No soil was seen on the harvested cabbage and there was no difference between the varieties in the num-

Fig. 3.Schematic diagram of trailer-supported mechanized harvesting system based on harvester improved for one-man operation

Fig. 4.Harvesting, processing, boxing and loading unified in one harvesting system harvest conveyer

Worker A remote controller for tractor

Remote-controlled tractor

Harvester pallet hydraulic belt conveyer (length=2,400 m)

<1,500 m>600 m empty box conveyer Worker BWorker C each pallet contains 50 boxes

* Workers & their jobs Worker A: operates harvester & takes in cabbages Worker B: processes cabbages for shipping Worker C: packs & loads processing apparatus rotary stocker processing apparatus

Trailer for cabbage processing & packaging : flow of cabbage

M. Hachiya et al.

(Parte 1 de 2)