Harvesting at the optimal time is critical for a high quality product destined for long–term storage. Still, there are insufficient tools to determine optimal harvest date. In this work, we present a very practical optimal harvest date tool based on a model developed several years ago and tested with several crops such as cherries, peaches, and nectarines. We have developed and validated the model with data collected for red–currants from the seasons 2005 to 2010 and found to be a useful and quite precise tool for optimal harvest date of red currants destined to long–term storage. This model is based on the concept that fruit developmental rates are primarily governed by heat exposure during the first 30 days after bloom. This study provides practical evidence of the suitability of this tool for growers for harvesting at the right time allowing them to plan in advance the harvest season. It might potentially be implemented for many other crops.
Keywords: optimal harvests, red currants, long–term storage, prediction, redcurrants, harvest dates, harvesting, optimal times, quality products, high quality, cherries, peaches, nectarines, developmental rates, fruit development, heat exposure, fruit blooms, growers, harvest season, Netherlands, Holland, postharvest technology, innovation