The preparation and application of post-harvest treatments and waxes has long been a time-consuming, labor-intensive process for fresh citrus producers, and one that typically means workers have to handle large quantities of chemicals. JBT’s new PRoDOSE system has been designed to tackle all of these concerns, bringing an extra dose of safety and efficiency to the post-harvest process.
For producers of primarily fresh citrus, a wax-based food coating is conventionally mixed with one containing fungicide properties, before being pumped through an application system. However, the measurement of the chemicals – and the mixing itself – is typically done by hand, meaning that the whole process can take hours at a time.
“It’s very labor-intensive,” explains JBT California citrus specialist Dana Dillard. “The wax coating has to be measured out by hand and mixed in a 300-500 gallon tank, which can take a person two-three hours, and this process is carried out every day or every other day.”
PRoDOSE takes the full-strength fungicides and meters them into the food grade coating with extreme accuracy through connecting valves and piping; a blending process which can be carried out at a rate of 25-30 gallons at a time, which allows for faster chemical changes based on market trends and decay pressures.
“PRoDOSE reduces the safety hazard of blending the chemicals, cuts down the burden of a very labor-intensive task, and reduces the overall time needed for the blending process,” says Dillard.