TECHNOLOGY OF MECHANIZED POSTHARVEST HANDLING OF ONION AND ITS SCIENTIFIC-TECHNICAL EXPERTISE
The study presents the results of establishing efficiency of applying mechanized modules for postharvest handling of onion and using them in a line. Indexes of mechanized and manual onion handling were compared. A complex of machines for harvesting onion involved equipment for cutting leaves; for digging out onions; for picking onion heaps and loading them to vehicles. Technologies applied before were mainly based on using low-productive manual work. Digging out onions was the only mechanized operation. A knife under-cutter or the machine KTs-1 were used for it. All the other technological processes – grading, checking, and packaging – were performed manually. Onion quality and fractional composition depended on a human factor. That caused a loss in product quality and worsened its marketing characteristics. Nowadays the problem of harvesting products is solved due to machines which come to the Ukrainian market from abroad. The complex of machines made by the firm «Skals», Denmark, was used to ensure harvesting and preliminary handling at agro-technological dates. The process of mechanized harvesting on its own does not allow obtaining standardized products. Onion heaps after digging out contains soil and plant residues. Additionally, more than 50 % of harvested onions have dried necks longer than 5 cm, when only 3-5 % of such onions are acceptable in the first grade products, and such onions are not acceptable at all in the highest grade products. Postharvest handling aimed at improving quality is necessary to obtain products of a standard level. In recent years farms which grow onion have started using lines of postharvest handling of onion. Equipment is arranged in a line from separate modules. Each module can work as an independent production unit. A line is made depending on volumes of production and growing conditions. Comparing mechanized and manual technologies for postharvest handling of onion, we can draw a conclusion that a mechanized technology has advantages in productivity, quality of technological process, in a possibility to obtain products which have lower cost prices, in saving labor resources and a possibility to organize work in many shifts.
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