Rubens sensors on a picking platform at the Agriculture Victoria Tatura SmartFarm

This research looks at data from multiples sensor on a fruit harvester that can measure fruit parameters whilst it is picked in an orchard. For accuracy, data from these sensors is being compared to a fruit grader where comparisons will look at accuracy of the field sensors on fruit diameter and colour as well as estimates on colour coverage, sweetness, firmness and maturity.


Dr Mark O'Connell introduces research into traceability and fruit qaulity sensing in machine harvesters at the Tatura SmartFarm, June 2023

I'm Mark O'Connell, senior research scientist at Agriculture Victoria here at Tatura SmartFarm, and today I want to show you our platform harvester and the new smart sensing system that we are measuring fruit quality and fruit traceability. So we have an apple orchard here today. I put fruit on the conveyor, and beside me on one of the conveyors is a sensor system to measure fruit number, fruit quality, and fruit size and colour. Specifically, we partnered with Rubens Technologies and built a custom sensor system, which includes a fluorescent spectrometer, a reflectance spectrometer, optical cameras, GPS and RFID tag readers. So combined, all that information can be individually scanned and collect data on fruit quality, fruit size, fruit colour, for example, and fruit internal features such as sweetness, starch content for apples firmness, and in particular blush, colour intensity, and even things like sunburn and disorders.

So this is a new bit of work that we're doing here at Tatura SmartFarm in Agriculture Victoria, and it's about understanding where the fruit, when fruit's harvested and the distribution of fruit quality parameters for different crops. So we plan to use this platform harvester and the sensor systems and traceability on stone fruit crops and pome fruit crops. So pear, apple, peach, and nectarine, and plums, for example. When we take that fruit back and put it over the fruit grater, for example, we've got that, that fruit bin ID'ed already with the RFID system and we then can compare and analyse the profiles and distributions of fruit quality.


This research is funded by Agriculture Victoria project RCM 10059. Transform traceability to grow food & fibre exports: Traceability and fruit quality sensing in machine harvesters.

This publication may be of assistance to you, but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication. While every effort has been made to ensure the currency, accuracy or completeness of the content we endeavour to keep the content relevant and up to date and reserve the right to make changes as require. The Victorian Government, authors and presenters do not accept any liability to any person the information (or the use of the information) which is provided or referred to in the report.