Weather conditions are important for the production of blueberry what many German growers could realize during last season In our opinion, increasing the use of sorting machines in the production of blueberries is of great importance in controlling the quality of fruit, harvested from the field.

Last season was tough for German blueberry growers who suffered quality issues because of a delayed harvest, with some parts of the country experiencing rainy conditions, while other parts experienced drought.

“Delayed picking influences market prices and causes humidity, which causes fungus to grow, causing storage problems.” shared Maciej Chmielewski from Milbor.

“Growers who weren’t equipped with good irrigation systems and processing facilities to store picked berries were faced with issues once the drought hit. Once the German traders were made aware of the large supply and lower quality, they immediately lowered prices. Due to the fact that a majority of the growers only trade in the domestic market, they were left with no other option but to sell for less.”

Blueberries in punnets on transport conveyor“I had heard reports that prices dropped down to lower than €2 per kilo, which is most likely a result of the difficult weather conditions this year. Additionally, German growers are still planting older varieties which are more difficult to store. To make matters worse, they lacked the advanced sorting and packing equipment to keep the best quality berries, along with the proper cold stores to cool the berries.” said Maciej.

“With the changing weather conditions, it is extremely difficult to manage the quality of the fruit coming from the field. However, modern sorting technology can be used to get rid of poor quality fruit and offer customers only the best blueberries. Our systems are designed to remove soft and overripe fruits and well as dehydrated.”

Sorting machines for blueberries - Impulse and BerrytekAs previously mentioned, a majority of German blueberry production is sold on the local market, and Maceij believes that growers might be limiting their options. He shared that if producers were to switch to newer varieties and more advanced sorting and packing solutions, the German berries could be sold in more competitive markets where prices are higher.

“We cannot predict weather conditions during the season, but we can always be better prepared when poorer conditions strike. Offering the best quality product possible is crucial and the way to do this is to sort the product with the best sorting methods available. Sorting machinery is the right way to go because it is more accurate, more effective, faster and does not damage the berry quality as much as sorting by hand.”
Milbor PMC distributes machinery which is designed to sort out soft, damaged and overripe berries. There are two types of sorters available, one that sorts by colour and a ‘soft sorter’ with dynamical sensors to check if the fruit is soft or not. The colour sorter checks that the fruit is not overripe, which also helps sort damaged fruits and berries infected by fungus.
“Using sorting machinery makes the process fast, accurate and efficient. We also provide full sorting and packing solutions, along with continued technical support.” concludes Maciej.

Learn more about machines for  sorting blueberries:

BerryTek Colour/Defect sorter

Impulse Soft Sorter

Grading machine – Jumbo Sizer