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How Fruit Size Effects Amount Needed To Fill the Bin

Perhaps the most common thought in the minds of picking crews after they have gone through a well-managed block of apples could be “larger apples fill bins much quicker than average size fruit.”

This idea is easily substantiated. Table 1 gives you some idea of relative fruit size and numbers needed to fill the bin. It takes 2000 apples of 3 1/8 inch diameter (100 count size) to fill a bin.

To fill the same bin with 2 ¾-inch diameter (138-count size) fruit, you have to reach for and handle 2760 apples per bin. Although a 2 ¾-inch apple isn’t a bad size, time and costs increase when smaller fruit is handled.

Table 1. Number of Apples to Fill Bins (Based on 20 bu/bin and 42 lb/bu)

Worksheet Example:

1000 trees/acre x 30 apples/tree = 30, 000 apples/acre = 30, 000 apples
There are 2000 apples per bin of 100 count size.

number of apples ÷ number per bin = 30,000 ÷ 2,000 = 15 bins

Tree Density Factor Chart

Fruit Size Factor Chart

Example: Grower has a density of 600 trees/acre and has 40 apples of avg. 125-count size/tree.

The grower needs:
Bins needed = 40(apples/tree) x 0.3(tree density factor) x 0.8(fruit size factor) = 9.6 or 10 bins

Three Factors That Make Up Crop Volume

Three factors make up crop volume: tree numbers, fruit numbers, and fruit size. If fruit size and crop load is fairly uniform in a higher-density planting, you can easily estimate yield. For example, if you have a tree density of 1000 trees/acre, and each tree carries 30 apples of 100-count size; you would need about 15 bins to accommodate the yield from one acre.

At 1000 trees/acre, the bin requirement is equal to half the number of apples per tree if the fruit is 100 count size.

At 500 trees/acre, the number of bins you would need equals one quarter the number of apples per tree. For sizes less than 100 count size (1x), you would multiply by a fruit factor which accounts for a 10% volume reduction for every 1/8-inch loss of size.

The Importance of Thinning for a Standard Distribution

Fruit size in a well-thinned crop generally follows a standard distribution. Most of the crop will be of the desired size classes while a smaller percentage of fruit will be much larger or much smaller than the bulk of the fruit making up the crop.

Bins/acre = apples/tree x tree density factor x fruit size factor

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