ISHSInternational Symposium on Mechanical Harvesting
& Handling Systems
of Fruits and Nuts

      Citrus Research
      and Education Center

   April 2 – 4, 2012

   Citrus Research and Education Center
   University of Florida / IFAS

   Lake Alfred, FL (USA)

Introduction Meet the Keynote Speakers Meeting Location
Who Should Attend? Important Dates Sponsors
10 Ways to Benefit Tentative Agenda

Area Information

History Registration Information Organizing Committee
Program Topics Hotel Accommodations Further Information

Final Program (PDF)


Welcome to the International Symposium on Mechanical Harvesting & Handling Systems of Fruit and Nuts. This event is being hosted by the UF/IFAS Citrus Mechanical Harvesting & Abscission Program at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research & Education Center, in Lake Alfred, FL. This is two day symposium, with an optional tour on the third day of mechanical harvesting of citrus and other crops in central and SW Florida. The symposium welcomes scientists, growers, harvesters, handlers, processors and others interested in the practices and concerns of mechanical harvesting of fruits and nut crops. Our speakers are active in academia and industry representing an array of the various fruit and nut crops. The mechanically harvested crops discussed will include olives, cherries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, citrus, coffee, nuts and others.

The two day symposium will include topics of interest on harvesting systems, abscission aids, harvesting aids, robotic harvesting, automation, and new machine designs. Many different facets of mechanical harvesting will be featured including economics, plant health, crop gleaning, transport and handling that affect the U.S. and International fruit and nut markets.
The optional field trip, on day three, will take the participants to central and southwest Florida (Immokalee) and will include mechanical harvesting in a commercial citrus grove. The symposium Abstracts and Proceedings will be published through the International Society of Horticulture Science (ISHS).

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Who Should Attend?
  • Harvesting Researchers

  • Growers

  • Harvesters

  • Harvesting Machine Manufacturers

  • Crop Handlers

  • Processors

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10 Ways to Benefit from Attending
  1. Discover how to design trees and orchards for efficient MH

  2. Learn about Harvesting Machine Design & Enhancements- Including

    a) Autonomous Guidance System

    b) Trash removal

    c) Yield monitoring

    d) Ways to Reduce Tree Injury

  3. Explain how MH integrates with Precision Farming, Process Control & Sensors

  4. Discuss the latest on Fruit loosening and Abscission Management

  5. Learn about Plant-Machine Interactions and effects on Tree and Plant health

  6. Understand how Mechanical Harvesting affects Subsequent Crop Yields

  7. Be able to know how to Overcome Obstacles to MH and Making a Successful Transition to MH

  8. What about Processor Issues? Reducing unwanted trash,

    a) Maintaining Product Quality, Food Safety

  9. Learn new advances in Harvesting Robotics

  10. Discuss Economic and Labor Issues

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Mechanical Harvesting History

The history of citrus mechanical harvesting in Florida dates back to the 1950’s. The idea of a mechanized harvesting system was developed from the struggle the citrus industry was facing concerns about costs and availability of harvesting labor. . This has been an ongoing problem that is still present. The systems that were developed early used several methods of removing the fruit unconventionally. For example, blasting water or air into the tree knocked the fruit off the stems.

If you are interested in reading more and seeing videos about harvesting equipment the development of current mechanical harvesting machines in Florida, please go to: 

Other MH topics to be found at this site include:  Current MH Systems, Mass Harvesters, Robotics, Grove Design, Abscission, Tree Health, Economics, Processor Issues, Publications Database, and Extension Tools

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Program Topics

Topics for ABSTRACT SUBMISSION  --  CLICK HERE for submission information  (PDF)

1. Horticulture - mechanically harvesting today’s orchards

  • Orchard/tree design

  • Pruning

  • Grower practices

  • Plant health

  • Processed vs. Fresh Crops

2. Horticulture – Orchards of the future and implications for mechanical harvesting

  • Field/Orchard design

  • Advanced production systems

  • Equipment improvements

3. Abscission agents

  • Development

  • Application and performance comparisons

4. Post harvest issues

  • Fruit quality

  • Food safety concerns and debris

  • Tomato processing industry

5. Engineering – mass harvesters

  • Evolution of harvesting systems

  • Technical challenges

  • Ideal machines

6. Engineering – robotics technology

  • Harvesting efficiency

  • Costs and reliability

  • Future goals

7. Engineering – harvest aids and economic

  • Advantages of harvest aids

  • Economic considerations that drive mechanical harvesting systems.

8. Commercializing Mechanical Harvesting technologies

  • Equipment manufacturers

  • Decision criteria behind R&D investments

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Meet the Keynote Speakers


Dr. Leandro Ravetti, Modern Olives Inc., Australia
"How Continuous Mechanical Harvesting Transformed the Olive Industry."
Click here for CV




Dr. Sergio Castro-Garcia, Seville, Spain
"Preparing Spain and California Olive Industries for Mechanical Harvesting"
Click here for CV



Mr. Bill Barber, Lykes Bros., FL, USA
"Orchards of the Future"
Click here for CV



Dr. Mark Trimmer, AgroSource, Inc., NJ, USA
"Successful Abscission Agent Development and Commercialization in FL
Click here for CV



Dr. Jean-Xavier Guinard, UC Davis, California, USA
"Sensory Properties and Consumer Acceptance of Mechanically vs. Hand-
Harvested Table Olives"
Click here for CV



Prof. Yoav Sarig, Israel
"Mechanical Harvesting of Fruit--Past Achievements, Current Status and Future Prospects"
Click here for CV



Prof. Naoshi Kondo, University of Kyoto, Japan
"Present Situation and Future Prospects of Fruit harvesting and Grading Robots"
Click here for CV



Prof. Paul Heinemann, Penn. State Univ., USA
"Collaborative Efforts with a Commercialization Partner to Develop a Vacuum Assisted Harvest System Present Situation and Future Prospects on Fruit harvesting and Grading Robots"
Click here for CV



Mr. Gary Stich, CEO of Oxbo International Corporation, NY USA
"Implementation of a Product Development Process"
Click here for CV


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Important Dates to Remember
Call for Abstracts August 22, 2011
On-Line Registration Opens October 1, 2011
Abstract Submission Deadline February 1, 2012
Early Registration Deadline January 27, 2012
Regular Registration January 28-April 3, 2012

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Tentative Agenda 
   [CLICK HERE here for printable  DETAILED Agenda as of November 7, 2011]

Sunday April 1, 2012     Participant Arrival & Check-in


Welcome Social at Hotel

 Monday  April 2, 2012


Continental Breakfast and Transportation to CREC - Registration and Poster set up


Welcome and Keynote Speaker
Oral Session I – Horticulture - Mechanically harvesting today’s orchards. (Keynote and Session speakers)


Break in Poster Session Room


Oral Session II: Horticulture – Orchards of the future and implications for Mechanical Harvesting


Lunch provided (CREC)


Oral Session III: Abscission Agents


Break in Poster Session Room


Oral Session IV: Post Harvest issues and Mechanical Harvesting


Poster Session I and Reception


FCM hosted dinner and Key-note speaker.  Return to Hotel. 

 Tuesday  April 3, 2012


Continental Breakfast and Transportation to CREC


Oral Session V: Engineering – Mass Harvesters


Break in Poster Session Room


Oral Session VI: Engineering – Robotics Technology


Lunch provided (CREC)


Oral Session VII: Engineering – Harvest Aids and Economic Requirements of New Harvesting Systems


Break in Poster Session Room


Oral Session VIII: – Commercializing Mechanical Harvesting Technologies


Poster Session II and Closing Reception


FCM hosted dinner.  Return to Hotel. 


Symposium Concluded

 Wednesday  April 4, 2012 – Optional Technical Field Trip 


Continental Breakfast and Transportation to CREC
(for those attending Optional Field Trip)


Optional Technical Field Trip and Lunch

This tour is a great way to explore and learn about the field operations of new harvesting technologies, automation and nursery production, and mechanical harvesting of citrus in commercial groves.  Tour includes visit to regional nursery production unit and to Lykes citrus grove, Ft. Basinger-FL where the mechanical harvesting operation demos are exclusively planned for tour participants.

Tour cost: $50 including transportation and lunch, Bus departs from CREC at 9:00am

Capacity: 50 persons.

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Registration Information

Early Deadline Extended to January 27

All figures are in US dollars ($).
  Early Fee
If register by 1/27/2012
Regular Fee
If register after 1/27/2012
ISHS Member $150.00 $200.00
Florida Growers $125.00 $175.00
ISHS Non-Member* $234.00 $284.00
One-Day Grower Fee
(Mon. or Tues.)
   $100.00 (No printed Proceedings)
Optional Post Conference
Field Trip
(Wednesday April 4)
   $ 50.00

Fee payments must accompany all registrations by the deadline to qualify for the applicable discounts.

What Does the Registration Fee Include?

Attendee Registration: The registration fee provides full participation in the conference including registration, materials and an abstract book. The fee also includes a Welcome Social on Sunday evening at the host Hotel, a daily morning refreshment break, lunch, and dinner, and transportation from the host Hotel to the CREC in Lake Alfred, Florida. Additionally the fee includes a copy of the symposium proceedings that will be published as a special volume of Acta Horticulturae.

Post Conference Field Trip: Includes lunch and transportation. Guests may attend

Refund Policy: Requests for registration refunds will be honored if a written notification of cancellation is received by the Office of Conference & Institutes on or before March 13, 2012. A processing fee of $75.00 will be deducted from all meeting participant refunds and $25.00 from all one-day participant refunds. Sorry, no refunds will be honored for cancellation after March 13, 2012.

Special Needs: Participants with special needs can be reasonably accommodated by contacting Jim Syvertsen at least 21 working days prior to the conference. He can be reached by phone at 1-863-956-8677, by Email:, or by calling 1-800-955-8771 (TDD). The TDD number can only be accessed from within the State of Florida.

Online registration is closed.
Onsite registration will be available at the conference.

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Hotel Accommodations

Hyatt Place Orlando/Universal
5895 Caravan Court
Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Phone: +1 407 351 0627 Fax: +1 407 351 3317
CLICK HERE for website
Maps & Directions to Hyatt Place Orlando/Universal

Please Note: Transportation will be provided to and from the Hyatt Hotel and the Citrus Research & Education Center each day if you signed up in advance. Please contact Dr. Jim Syvertsen for details: 

Rate Information
The Hyatt Place Orlando Universal is offering the attendees of The International Symposium on Mechanical Harvesting (ISMH) a special rate of $104.00 per night (single, double, triple, or quad occupancy) plus state and local taxes (12.5%).

To Make a Reservation
Contact the Hotel directly at: 1-407-351-0627 and make sure to state that you are a participant of the International Symposium on Mechanical Harvesting group to receive the special discounted rate.  CLICK HERE to make an online reservation.

Check-in is 3pm and Check-out is 12Noon.

Reservation Deadline
Reservations must be received by Monday, March 12, 2012, to receive the discounted rate. Please be aware the Hyatt Place may fill before the discounted rate deadline, so we urge you to make your reservation as soon as possible. After March 12, 2012, the discounted group rate is not guaranteed on possible remaining rooms. (To receive tax exempt status, payment must be made in the form of a government issued check, credit card or purchase order, and, be accompanied by a Florida sales tax exemption certificate presented at check-in.)

Room Guarantee & Cancellation Policy
All reservations must be guaranteed and accompanied by a first night room deposit or guaranteed with a major credit card. Should a guest cancel a reservation, the deposit will be refunded if notice is received at least 72 hours prior to arrival and a cancellation number is obtained.

Hotel Overview
Hyatt Place Orlando/Universal is centrally located to all major attractions. We are across the street from Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and City Walk. City Walk offers restaurants like Emeril's, Nascar Sports Grill and Hard Rock Café as well as a wonderful night life of dancing and entertainment. Hyatt Place Orlando/Universal is just 20 minutes from Walt Disney World and Sea World and just one hour from Busch Gardens in Tampa. We are only a one hour drive to both Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach.

For more information regarding local Orlando restaurants and activities near this hotel, please visit our Activities page. To learn more about Hyatt Place, click here. View our Hyatt Destinations Orlando city guide for insider information on local culture, restaurants, shopping, events and more.

Hotel Highlights

  • This Orlando hotel features spacious guestrooms each with the Hyatt Grand Bed™ and a 42" flat panel HDTV

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi available throughout the hotel; Complimentary continental breakfast daily

  • Outdoor swimming pool

  • 24/7 Guest Kitchen serves made-to-order snacks and entrees

  • Intimate Bakery Café serves Starbucks® specialty coffees, premium beers and wines

  • Grab 'n Go case offers muffins, salads, sandwiches and bottled beverages

  • e-room with complimentary computers and a printer

  • Complimentary onsite parking

  • this is a SMOKE FREE Hotel

Room Amenities

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi and high-speed DSL Internet access

  • 42" flat-panel HDTV featuring HD channels, sports packages & on-demand movies, games & music

  • Oversized Cozy Corner sofa-sleeper

  • Computer data port

  • Coffee maker/tea maker

  • AM/FM alarm clock radio with MP3 connectivity

  • Hyatt Plug Panel™

  • Large desk area

  • Two telephones (one cordless) with voicemail

  • Mini-refrigerator

  • Hair dryer

  • Iron/ironing board

  • Aquafresh® Extreme Clean® Toothpaste Amenities

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Meeting Location

BHGThe Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) in Lake Alfred, central FL, is an internationally recognized research facility with programs in agricultural engineering, biotechnology, breeding and genetics, horticulture, economics, entomology and nematology, plant pathology, physiology and biochemistry, post-harvest, soil science, water management, fresh fruit handling and processing. The Center has a staff of 225 people comprised of 33 faculty members of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. See the CREC website for more information (

Location map: 

Please Note: Transportation will be provided to and from the Hyatt Hotel and the Citrus Research & Education Center each day if you signed up in advance. Please contact Dr. Jim Syvertsen for details: 

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Booths for harvesting equipment manufacturers and sponsors are available if purchased by March 7, 2012. Please contact Jim Syvertsen at 

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Area Information

The CREC, located in Lake Alfred Fl, is easily accessible from either the Orlando (45 miles) or Tampa (62 miles) airports, just off of I-4. CREC, established in 1917 by the State of Florida was the first and is the largest of the off-campus Experiment Stations. In addition to housing UF/IFAS staff it also supports members of the Florida Department of Citrus.

Lake Alfred is a city in Polk County FL, with about 4,000 residents. Located in Central Florida, it is close to many popular tourist destinations including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and Busch Gardens. Both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts are also easily accessible from its central location.

Mapquest Map of Florida
Find driving directions to and from any address/destination in the USA.


Click for Orlando, Florida Forecast



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Organizing Committee

Jim Syvertsen, Tree Health, Horticulture, UF/IFAS, CREC, Lake Alfred, FL , USA

Jacqueline Burns, Abscission Chemicals & Processes, Horticulture, UF/IFAS, CREC, Lake Alfred, FL

Michelle Danyluk, Crop Food Safety, Food Science, UF/IFAS, CREC, Lake Alfred, FL

Robert Ebel, Tree Health, Horticulture, UF/IFAS, SWFREC Immokalee, FL

Reza Ehsani, Machine Enhancement, Ag. Engineering, UF/IFAS, CREC, Lake Alfred, FL


Louise Ferguson, Fruit & Nut Education, Ag. & Environ. Sci., UC Davis, CA

Barbara Hyman, Grower Education, UF/IFAS, SWFREC, Immokalee, FL

Fritz Roka, Economics, Gr. Education, Food & Resource Econ., UF/IFAS, SWFREC, Immokalee, FL

Tim Spann, Grower Education, Processing Concerns, Horticulture, UF/IFAS, Lake Alfred, CREC, FL

Jodie Whitney, Mechanical Harvesting, Ag. Engineering (Emeritus), UF/IFAS, CREC, Lake Alfred, FL

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For Further Information  

Symposium Information

Dr. Jim Syvertsen
Faculty Organizer

University of Florida/IFAS, CREC
700 Experiment Station Road
Lake Alfred, FL 33850
Phone: (863) 956-1151
Fax: (863) 956-4631

Registration Information

Sharon Borneman, CGMP
Conference Coordinator
University of Florida/IFAS
Office of Conferences & Institutes
Bldg. 639 Mowry Road
Gainesville, FL 32611-0750
Phone: (352) 392-5930
Fax: (352) 392-9734

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