Economic Analysis of Alternative Mechanical Harvesting Systems for Wild Blueberries
Khan, Ahmad Hanmbal
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The purpose of this study was to assess the economic impacts of small box and semi-automatic bin handling technologies for wild blueberries production in Nova Scotia. Wild blueberry mechanical harvesters with similar engineering configuration were evaluated. A first objective involved quantifying and comparing harvest efficiency and harvest rates of the alternative harvesting technologies. In addition, partial budgeting methods were used to evaluate the economics of switching from the small box to the semi-automatic bin handling system. Furthermore, the profitability of wild blueberry production was investigated for the two harvest handling technologies, with and without a Nova Scotia government cost-share program, and for alternative asset ownership scenarios. Semi-automatic bin handling system was 22% more field efficient in 2017 and 29% in 2018, than the small box system. Net change in profit was $674 ha-1 in 2017 and $176 ha-1 in 2018 when switching from the small box to bin handling technology.