Mechanized Farming for Slopeland Orchards in Japan
In Japan, most of the farm work in slopeland orchards in the past has been carried out manually, since there has been no suitable machinery. However nowadays there is a severe problem of aging farmers and a shortage of young successors, especially for citrus orchards on steep hillsides. For this reason, the staff of the Shikoku National Agricultural Experiment Station have developed a mechanized farming system for slopeland citrus orchards. This involves the construction of farm paths, and the use of machines which the operator walks behind, such as an air-blast sprayer, a raised bed transporter and a hand-held shallow cultivator. This new mechanized system has reduced the total work hours by more than 30%, while farmers' incomes have increased because of the improved quality of the citrus fruit.