First steps in the grape mechanization process in Brazil: quantitative features

Wilson Valente da Costa Neto, Miguel Garrido Izard, Pilar Barreiro Elorza, Fabrício Domingues

Abstract


Grape harvest is still fully manual in the majority of farms in Brazil (above 99%), yet the structure of the fields and the vine trellis are already prepared for it in a 24% of the cases. Besides, only the large-size farms are prepared for performing a detailed analysis of working capacity, product quality and losses; data of great value when trying to quantitatively address the incorporation of machinery. The fact that grape harvest in South America (and South Africa) be complementary in season compared to Europe, or North America, makes this potential market of Brazil an interesting option for European manufacturers. In this work, we have supervised a whole grape harvest season, in a 552ha farm, where both, mechanical (trailed) and manual harvest, are performed. Harvest performance is assessed by means of digital field notebooks and using georeferenced data (DGPS). A large variety of incidences have been found for the mechanized procedure due mainly to a deficient maintenance of the equipment, yet the increase in work capacity is clear. Also in this study an analysis of juice losses due to mechanized harvest is performed. The quantitative features are defined and have been compared to evaluate the difference among both procedures, together with a technical discussion in the prospective of the grape (harvest) mechanization in the near future in Brazil.


Keywords


Farm management system, agricultural engineering, viticulture in Brazil, grape harvest, case study.

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