Apple harvester spotlighted at show

By Geoff Parks

For the Capital Press

The latest in mechanical apple harvesters will be among the state-of-the-art equipment in display at this year's Northwest Ag Show.

Littau Harvester’s new apple harvester will be among the state-of-the-art equipment on display at this year’s Northwest Ag Show.

Dan Setnicker, engineering manager at the Stayton agribusiness, said the harvester originally was a “joint effort between us, Auvil Fruit Co. (a Washington state fruit farm and packing concern) and Van Dorn Industries (manufacturers of processing plant equipment).”

They collaborated on a prototype apple harvester that was developed about five years ago.

“We basically went through and refined it, making it more user-friendly and productive,” Setnicker said. “It’s in a constant state of improvement.”

Four or more workers stand on steel plates, pick apples and put them onto conveyor belts on the machine, where they are sorted by other workers and sent to totes below.

“It’s really more of a (mobile) picking and sorting platform that minimizes the fatigue of climbing a ladder and moving things around,” he said. “Workers can basically just stand there and pick.”

Littau has in the last several years built six machines, all of which have been tested in Washington state apple orchards. Production of the machines “really just depends on demand,” Setnicker said. “As happens in ag sometimes, (the industry) came up with machines that were just too complicated. This harvester is a shot at something in-between, so we will see what the demand is and, as manufacturers, go with that demand.”

Some of the other specialized machinery on exhibit at the show include Edwards Equipment with a Dyna-Cutter DC6600 Orchard & Vineyard Mower, Star Rentals with a Gehl RS5-19 Telescopic Handler and Carts & Tools with a solar-powered hand tiller.

Northwest Automotive Product Sales, Inc., will be promoting a diesel emission control service and the diesel fuel system cleaning tool; Marion Ag Service will promote an expanded line of organic products; Tug of War Seed, under new management, will display its products; and Bill’s Ag Tire Professional Consulting, which also is expanding, will exhibit its wares at the show.



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