The olive harvest is one of the most delicate and expensive phases. In recent times, more specific tools have been developed for harvesting, which are called the bull harvester.
Snackers or shakers can be of different type and power but must solve two essential requirements, namely: efficiency of harvesting and protection of product quality.
The harvesters can be electric, pneumatic or an endothermic engine.
The choice is not simple, not only due to the wide range of products available on the market but because the needs of those who have to use it may be different.
In fact, they range from electric harvesters, to pneumatic and motorized ones, with fixed plastic or removable carbon combs, etc.
In order to purchase this increasingly useful tool, however, you need to follow some directions.
Let’s start with nutrition.
Today, most of the harvesters on sale are electrically powered; it is a practical, inexpensive, easy to maintain and versatile solution.
For power, there are motors of various powers: they range from 12 volts, for those who have few plants to harvest or can spend more time, up to 36 volts, which obviously allow faster harvesting times.
The power supply can be of the battery type, which the operator carries on his back, or with a cable connected to a normal car battery. In the first case, you are much freer to move around the field, but the weight on your back can create problems in the long run, especially for those who suffer from it.
In the second case, however, you get less tired but the cable (usually between 10 and 15 meters) can slow down your movements, especially if there is more than one worker in the field.
On the market we also find motorized olive harvesters, much more powerful and efficient which, on the other hand, produce a rather high noise, are heavy and the engine, warming up, is not very comfortable if the days are mild and is subject to greater maintenance.
Finally, we move on to pneumatic harvesters, in which the power is transmitted with compressed air, through a compressor that can be fueled by petrol or by a tractor. With these tools we also pass to higher powers, combined with freedom of movement; on the other hand we have a more complex power system than an electric battery or an internal combustion engine.
As far as speed is concerned, we go from electric harvesters, which have a speed of 800-1,100 strokes per minute, to pneumatic or motorized ones that can even reach 2000.
It is evident that a higher speed corresponds to shorter harvesting times and more plants per unit of time. With higher speeds there are more intense work rates, which are well combined with plants with many plants to work.
Working autonomy –
If you have a good electric harvester with shoulder battery, this allows you to work almost a whole day without interruptions, even if a lot depends on the work rate and the air temperature. In choosing the equipment, however, it is always necessary to evaluate the workload that must be faced and consider the purchase of an additional battery.
The weight should not be overlooked, which must also be chosen based on the ability and strength of the operator. In fact, when the olives are harvested, long hours are spent in the field, so it is also right to evaluate the weight of the equipment.
Normally electric harvesters have a variable weight from 2 kilos up to over 3 kilos, while for motorized shakers it goes around 5-6 kilos.
The balance of the weights of a blast is often more important than other components as a well-balanced blast, for the same weight, makes the work lighter.
The cheaper electric models have the motor in the head, this feature makes the shaker unbalanced and especially when working the upper part of the canopy, the arms have to make a high effort to keep the tool in position.
For this we recommend the rackers with the engine placed in the tail, which allows to better balance the instrument. The petrol engine harvesters have all the engine down.
Over time the most recent models have been made with lower vibration systems; however, the cheaper models can transmit the vibrations produced by the harvester motor to the operator’s hand, which in the long run can cause fatigue and consequences also to the joints.
Length and Weight –
Bull harvesters are usually sold either with fixed or telescopic rods. The telescopic ones usually range from 2 to 3 meters; the choice of length must be made on two criteria: height of the canopy and height of the operator.
Weight also plays, as mentioned, an important role. are those in carbon fiber that weigh less than those in aluminum but, of course, they cost more.
The combs are made up of prongs of various material, shape and length; moreover, they move with different movements. In general, it must be considered that plastic rods, certainly cheap, are less resistant than carbon or technopolymer rods. Furthermore, it must be considered that monolithic combs, in which the single rods cannot be replaced individually, require the entire piece to be changed in case of breakage.
Let’s say that the choice of an abbacchiature must therefore respond to different criteria, for which there is no abbacchiature, absolutely better than another.
This depends on the number of plants to be harvested, their pruning shape, their height, and the characteristics of the operator.
In short, the experience of those who already use it is always very useful as this is the result of an open field test with all the positive and negative aspects.
It is clear that for the collection of a few plants a “few pretensions” beating may suffice, but if this operation is to be done for business use then one must be very careful about the qualitative characteristics we have summarized.