The assessment of hazelnut mechanical harvesting productivity
De Luca, A.I.
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Hazelnut cultivation represents a new opportunity for Calabrian mountainous and sloping areas (Southern Italy), where no alternative fruit crops, except forestry, could be settled. In this Region, hazelnut production doubled during the last fifty years, inciting the farmers to introduce mechanization in cropping practices such as harvesting in order to increase productivity and decrease production costs. Indeed, harvesting is currently one of the most expensive processes of the productive cycle, moreover to be time consuming if carried out manually. Mechanization degree depends significantly on the terrain topography: in sloping areas, rakes are often associated to aspirating machines to harvest the fallen fruit, while the employment of harvesting machines from the ground prevails in flat areas. In this context, the present paper aims to assess technical and economic aspects of harvesting operation, using a harvester from the ground model ‘Jolly 2800’ (GF s.r.l., Italy). Particularly, for technical purposes data about operational working time as well as working productivity were collected according to CIOSTA requirements, in two harvesting sites, whereas, for mechanical harvesting economic evaluation, an estimation model was applied to calculate machinery cost per hour. Moreover, the cost per kg of hazelnut in shell and the average cost per hectare were estimated also. The obtained results show a working productivity of 0.065 ha h-1 op-1 in the first harvesting site, while it was equal to 0.022 ha h -1 op-1 in the second one. Concerning the average cost per hectare, the second harvesting site showed the worst economic performances, with 550.76 € ha-1 against 182.54 € ha-1 obtained in the first one.