Cultivation technology for lowbush blueberry cultivation in milled peat field plantations

On November 1st starting at 13:00 doctoral student Margus Arak will be defending his thesis „Cultivation technology for lowbush blueberry cultivation in milled peat field plantations."  

Due to a lack of mechanisation and specific technology, blueberry cultivation on milled peat fields is not particularly common in Estonia, while also not being very profitable.

The basis for the development of blueberry cultivation is the mechanization and automation of production. This consists, on the one hand, in the development of machines and technical equipment with suitable productivity and, on the other hand, in reducing the operating costs of the machines.

This doctoral thesis is largely based on six original publications and tree intellectual properties.

The doctoral dissertation describes the technological peculiarities of a blueberry orchard planted on milled peat fields, collects basic data for the development of a machinery which allows to reduce the importance of manual labour and to replace it with machinery to reduce the unit cost involved in technological operations and, thereby, to reduce manufacturing costs.

In order to compile the initial task of designing a mechanized blueberry harvesting technology, a methodology has been developed to determine the physical properties of the blueberry plant (the attachment force of berries and stems and the mechanical properties of blueberry stems). A methodology has been developed for determining the design and kinematic parameters of a motoblock-type blueberry harvester and for selecting the material of the harvester. Based on the data collected in the work, the concept of a precision automatic fertilizer unit has been developed.

The patents that have been issued in the development of blueberry cultivation technology show that novel solutions have been elaborated. The technical inspection that was carried out by the Estonian Patent Office shows that the solution being offered was a novel one.

The studies that have been carried out and the solutions which have been developed could help in and become a prerequisite for the development of new equipment which will serve to foster the establishment of new blueberry plantations, first and foremost on milled peat fields, but also in terms of increasing profitability levels and reducing the ecological footprint in already-established blueberry plantations.

Supervisor is prof. Jüri Olt. Opponents are prof. István Szabó (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Szent István University, Gödöllö, Hungary) and professor Egidijus Šarauskis (Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Safety, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania).

Abstract is available in Library of Estonian University of Life Sciences DSpace archive