One of our top priorities at Pine Island Cranberry is efficiency; we’re always trying to find ways to become better growers! This includes being open to new methods as well as new equipment, and this week, our team tested the latter with our new bogside cleaner.
During the harvest, berries are placed on a truck via an elevator. The truck then goes to our packing house to unload and prep the berries for the receiving station by removing as much bog debris as possible. The bogside cleaner improves this process by removing the packing house step entirely and removing debris as the berries come out of the bog. “This is better on fuel and easier on the team,” explains supervisor Matt Giberson. “It should actually require fewer people in the water.”
Matt and his team tested the cleaner on some newer bogs that aren’t yet producing much viable fruit. (Young beds have yet to develop a dense canopy, and while they often yield fruit, a high percentage of that fruit contains rot.) This makes our young beds a good place to test run new equipment immediately pre-harvest. “It’s always a learning process,” Matt says. “We tried it for three days on different bogs to learn some of the variables and how we’ll need to adjust.” Among those changes were oil pressure on the pump (“That made a world of difference”, says Matt), bog shape, and amount of debris. Older bogs, especially at Sim Place, may have more roots pulled up with the rake on the Gates Harrow, which can cause the machine to jam. “We may need to make changes to the sprayer that we keep in the bog itself,” Matt says. “We’re thinking maybe adding a grate to that will help stop more branches, grass, weeds…all that fun stuff.”
“We’re going to need to make some more changes along the way,” Matt says, “but that’s what we always do! I think it’s going to make a huge difference.”