New apple harvester also sprays and trims

It may not be something the average broadacres farmer will be rushing out to buy, but this new straddle-type apple harvester/trimmer/sprayer is reckoned to be the first of its kind to be developed in the UK.

It was the brainchild of John Thatcher, chairman of Thatchers cider at Sandford, Somerset, and was designed and made by SFM Technology from nearby Martok.

It gently shakes the trees to remove the ripe fruit, which then pass on to a conveyor belt and into a trailer.

In tree-shaping mode, the cutters move over the top of the trees, shaping them ready for harvesting.

The enclosed sprayer function is said to minimise spray drift, as well as recirculating and catching any drifting spray.

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