The Robots Have Arrived

Employing robots on a blueberry farm may sound too futuristic to take seriously, but listening to this episode might change your mind. Advancements in robotic-harvesting technology are opening up a world of possibilities for blueberry growers. In today’s podcast, we discuss how one robot is helping hand harvesters, and how it might help blueberry growers in a multitude of other ways in the future.

Hosts Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and the North American Blueberry Council, and Rod Cook, industry veteran and the chair of the Blueberry Technology and Innovation Committee, are joined by Charlie Anderson of Burro Robotics and Paul Macrie of Macrie Brothers Blueberry Farm in New Jersey.

“How can I make that better? How can I make this faster? [Those are] the two things that we are always looking at.” – Paul Macrie

Anderson’s Philadelphia-based company, Burro Robotics, created a robot that’s designed to help people work more productively, while building the base for more automation where it’s needed most. The “Wall-E” style robot transports blueberries and other specialty crops from where they’re picked to where they’re packed. Macrie, a blueberry grower from New Jersey, is exploring the use of this robot at his own operation.

This episode features a conversation with Anderson and Macrie, and their experience with robotic hand-harvesting technology. Topics include: 

  • How Anderson and Macrie got started with robotics.
  • How the Burro hand harvester robot works.
  • Macrie’s experience with Burro Robotics.
  • Future robotic applications for the blueberry industry.
  • Price points for blueberry hand-harvesting technology.

Crop Report – September 8, 2020 

The Blueberry Crop Report is an update on crop conditions and markets throughout North America. In this episode, you’ll hear from Luis Vegas in Peru, Doug Krahmer in Oregon, Bryan Sakuma in Washington, and Jason Smith in British Columbia. This was recorded on September 8, 2020.