Orchards use a variety of equipment to aid in apple picking. Smaller orchards tend to use manual equipment, while larger orchards usually rely on automated equipment that harvests tons of apples per hour.
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For small orchards, fruit picker poles help workers reach apples growing at the top of the trees. The poles usually extend to 8 feet in length and hold up to five apples at a time. Use of the poles eliminates the need for ladders.
Tree shakers help gently shake the apples from the trees without damaging the trunk of the tree. The shakers usually mount on a tractor and rely on rubber jaws to grip the tree trunk. Some tree shakers use a wire rope tied to the tree to do all the shaking.
Harvesting machines collect the fruit through a pickup system that sweeps the tree. Some harvesters put the apples through a cleaning system that allows dirt, leaves and twigs to discharge from the back of the machine. The apples travel up an auger before getting deposited into a bin for delivery to a trailer.
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