TECHNOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION FOR AUTOMATING THE CULTIVATION OF BLUEBERRIES IN BLUEBERRY PLANTATIONS ESTABLISHED ON DEPLETED PEAT MILLING FIELDS
Keywords:blueberry plantation, identification of plants, intervals between plants, position of plants in a row, straightness of plant rows
In order to increase the cost-effectiveness of blueberry (Vaccinium) cultivation in blueberry plantations, all of its technological operations should be automatized. It is reasonable to start the automation of blueberry cultivation from the technological operation of fertilising the blueberries as the main purpose of this operation is to dose a prescribed amount of fertiliser under the plant’s crown. When a new blueberry plantation is established on depleted peat milling fields, then the plants are set at pre-determined steps into parallel rows. Fertilisation of the plants in the first years of growth must be performed individually, i.e. each plant is fertilised separately. This is called precision fertilisation. In order to design the technological devices for blueberry cultivation, including the fertiliser robot, we must know the location of plants on the field or, more precisely, their position in the row. The goal of this study is to determine the position of blueberry plants in the plantation. In order to meet the goal, measurements were performed in the blueberry plantation and the position of plants in randomly chosen row was measured. It became clear from the study that plants are not positioned regularly at equal intervals in a straight line; therefore, the fertiliser robot to be designed must include the functions of plant identification and control of fertiliser jet to ensure individual or precision fertilisation of plants.