Strawberry picking rig launched

An engineering design business has launched what it calls a revolutionary electric harvesting rig to take the sweat out of picking strawberries.

Tech2Reality said it was taking a "fresh look" at the commercial harvesting of strawberries because hand-picking was too tough.

"For the grower there are lots of issues such as the cost, supply and quality of labour," said a representative for the Stratford-upon-Avon-based company.

The TEKTU T100 uses rechargeable batteries to enable the machine to run silently and with no emissions inside polytunnels. The representative said: "The battery pack lasts for a full shift, and everything is aimed at saving labour and making harvesting more efficient."

The machine comes in four-, five- and six-bed versions - carrying eight, 10 or 12 pickers - which load fruit into punnets that are conveyed to a load platform.

"The structure is simple and strong, with a wide track and large wheels for maximum stability and grip. Terrain can be tough, so four-wheel drive is available. In the few weeks that the T100 has been operating customers are seeing 25 to 30 per cent productivity improvements. They expect payback in the second full season of operation."

Standard two-bed models cost around £47,000 and a six-bed, four-wheel drive version with automatic steering is £62,000. for more edibles news.

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