Mechanized Production System for Orchards on Sloping Land in Japan
In Japan, most of the farm operations in orchards on sloping land in the past had been carried out manually, since no suitable machincry was available. However presently, the problem of aging farmers and shortage of young successors, especially for citrus orchards on steep hillsides must be solved. Therefore, a mechanized production system (MPS) for orchards on sloping land was developed involving the construction of farm paths and the use of machines behind which the operator walks, such as airblast sprayer, raised bed transporter, and fertilizer spreader. The benefits of MPS were confirmed by comparison with a conventional production system (CPS) in an actual farmer’s orchard at Yoshida town, Ehime prefecture, which is one of the leading citrus-production districts in Japan. The use of this system enabled to reduce the total working hours by 35% as well as improve the working conditions without yield decrease and decline of the quality of fruits.