Why Is A Tasmanian Berry Farm Using Robots To Help Pick Its Fruit?

With years of research behind them, fruit farmers are turning to robots to help with harvest amid a human worker shortage.  Burlington Berries at Cressy, in northern Tasmania, has shipped out a fleet of 16 robots from the UK to help with picking over the summer. Each robot picks about four berries a minute and growers say the technology is giving them "peace of mind" as ongoing labour shortages plague the industry. What do you think LiveTribers? Why is a Tasmanian berry farm using robots to help pick its fruit?

Posted by on 06 Mar 2023

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    I do believe that having the robots to do works like these is a good way to resolve the worker shortage. It is better than immigration because immigrants won't stick to the work for a very long time. Once they decide to switch to better works, the shortage is still there and the city would be more crowded.

    Posted by XIAOYANG on 18 Apr 2023

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    The government gives to much money to parasites so they can stay home without working. Machinery doesn't take sickies or go on strike so why bother trying to create employment

    Posted by dave on 28 Mar 2023

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    If this berry farm is having trouble finding workers, I guess they need to get some type of automation going to pick those berries.

    Posted by cazzle on 23 Mar 2023

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    Robots would be more reliable. Probably a cost saver too.

    Posted by yelsha42 on 22 Mar 2023

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    Shortage of available staff. Workers being sick. Fruit needs to be picked.

    Posted by kendallx3 on 22 Mar 2023

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    While its unfortunate that it has come to this, the business still has a right to use the robots to help pick the fruit. They still have to make a living for their families.

    Posted by Trudes on 17 Mar 2023

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    Am I missing something? How can there be a shortage of workers when we have unemployment? I guess the farmers are doing what they have to but I'm concerned that there is too much technology, robots etc.

    Posted by sandra on 13 Mar 2023

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    One article I read from a few years ago said that some workers were being paid as little as $3 per hour which is slave labour. The article also said that the Australian Workers Union was pushing for a big increase in wages. I don't know what happened in the end but I imagine a lot of people were put off by the low pay.

    Posted by vlee on 17 Mar 2023

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    I see no problem either, especially when there is a shortage of workers in the area. Keep in mind robots are expensive to purchase and maintain,and may not even perform up to the required standards. So it is not like the farmers are doing this just to save money.

    Posted by TonyLT on 13 Mar 2023

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    I see no problems there. A win win situation for both the farmers and consumers.

    Posted by Chin on 13 Mar 2023

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    Well, they have to do something if there aren't enough people to do it

    Posted by Kittykato on 13 Mar 2023

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    hoping that the robots can save them money in the long term

    Posted by Vie88 on 13 Mar 2023

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    That sounds like advanced technology to me considering the labour shorage. I wonder if this will make berries cheaper or more expensive in the shops.

    Posted by bmlglp on 13 Mar 2023

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    It is a great way to combat labour shortages, sick days off, and other OH&S concerns with picking fruit. I hope they have found a win win situation for themselves.

    Posted by CILLY0 on 13 Mar 2023

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    I guess like everyone they are trying to find a way to cut costs

    Posted by Jigsaw on 13 Mar 2023

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    Yes, robots are good as long as they add to human effort rather than replace it.

    Posted by David on 08 Mar 2023

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    I think it’s great as the berries aren’t being wasted and the robots should be around for ages!

    Posted by Debra on 08 Mar 2023

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    I think it’s gre

    Posted by Debra on 08 Mar 2023

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    shortage of workers wanting to do this type of work

    Posted by chalker on 08 Mar 2023

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    possible not enough people wanting to do the job

    Posted by Michelle on 08 Mar 2023

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    Not enough labour to harvest the crop so this is a good alternative. Ensures the farmer gets what he's owed, people get fed and nothing goes to waste.

    Posted by SagoLeo on 08 Mar 2023

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    Minh-Hai Henry

    obviously reduce labour costs

    Posted by Minh-Hai Henry on 08 Mar 2023

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    The robots sound slow, but the berries are being picked. There is a worker shortage and it is better to have robots picking the berries than to allow the berries to rot.

    Posted by merryl on 08 Mar 2023

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    ace bowler

    The technology revolution creates a massive issue for humanity as robots and algorithms do all the work while humans lose their economic agency and are consigned to the scrap heap.

    Posted by ace bowler on 08 Mar 2023

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    It's the way of the future. Robots will be used for more tasks as time goes by.

    Posted by Jibberman on 08 Mar 2023

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    Sounds like a slow pick but at least they do not complain and will work long hours without rests. You do not have to feed them, no compo or sick leave either.

    Posted by sulter on 08 Mar 2023

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    No problem with robots, as long as there's better work available for people losing jobs to robots. Better meaning healthier, more constant, better money.

    Posted by XYZXYZ on 08 Mar 2023

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    Is it just me or does four berries a minute not sound like much?

    Posted by EmmaLouise2023 on 08 Mar 2023

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    If it increases productivity then why not.

    Posted by Farrukh on 08 Mar 2023

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    Not enough workers but also possibly cheaper than paying workers.

    Posted by Ally42 on 08 Mar 2023

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    more efficient and effective

    Posted by Daniel on 08 Mar 2023

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    Good example for machine taking over man-kind.Farm owners need to harvest at the right time to keep their livelihood going . Simultaneously consumers need fruits as well. When there are no sufficient man power available usage ofmachines cannot becomplained.

    Posted by Choosehappiness on 06 Mar 2023

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    It's pretty sad when robots are classified as being more reliable than humans

    Posted by KMB80 on 06 Mar 2023

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    Great idea, reliability for the farmer.

    Posted by Vote1pedro on 06 Mar 2023

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    To save on the labor cost.

    Posted by Zi on 06 Mar 2023

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    Because we as human beings are becoming to lazy to actually work. Classic WALL-E example.

    Posted by Zachary on 06 Mar 2023

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    Simple - farming, like many other industries, is facing critical labour shortages so the berry farm is using robots to ensure that its crop is harvested and gets to market! I guess we should be concerned if the aged care and health care sectors start using robots instead of humans.....!!

    Posted by Joy on 06 Mar 2023

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    They actually might get better care as yes there are many who are terrific in this industry it is still below standard in my opinion.

    Posted by coaster on 06 Mar 2023

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    Robots are starting to infiltrate the workforce. Are they cheaper, faster and produce better yield than a human? Not enough information to know available here. More robots will answer that question.

    Posted by Suit on 06 Mar 2023

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    It's a hard monotonous job nobody wants to do unless you're an international backpacker that can't get any other type of elegible sponsorship to extend their working-holiday visa for another year. Plus it gets you about a third of the minimum wage per hour which should be illegal. So, why robots? They don't complain, shut up and take it.

    Posted by Kurt on 06 Mar 2023

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    If they can't get workers to pick the fruit I guess it's a good option for them Better than fruit going to waste.

    Posted by Mary on 06 Mar 2023

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    They get mainly backpackers from overseas to pick the fruit. As far as I am aware, they pay the picker a price per kilogram. I don't believe that they pay a hourly wage. This is why many Australians don't pick the fruit. Backpackers come from overseas and go out to the country to pick fruit, so that they can stay in Australia for longer.

    Posted by tassiegirl on 06 Mar 2023

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    The fruit has to be harvested and if you can't get a human why not try a robot?

    Posted by Paula on 06 Mar 2023

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    Sad. We are putting ourselves out of use on this planet. We save so much time with all the technology, but what do we do with this time??

    Posted by Miro on 06 Mar 2023

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    Simple Labour Economics....cost of wages in most businesses is the highest outgoing. So increasingly with leaps and bounds in AI and an emerging Gen 6 wireless telephony lookout unskilled workers. The notion of a base wage rate regardless of toil will be front of mind for many workers sooner than we all realise. The rise of the Machines....circa the Industrial Revolution.... it's ever evolving and unstoppable!

    Posted by mact on 06 Mar 2023

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    Hard to get anyone to pick fruit so they are turning to robots, plus it will save them from paying wages

    Posted by Raceyfan on 06 Mar 2023

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    All for robot technology with the recent pandemic but how do robots know the difference between berries that should be picked and berries that are not ready to be picked and so forth

    Posted by Leisa on 06 Mar 2023

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    Wow, the future is here, it’s in Tassie where robots are picking berries! Although there is a fair amount of mechanization in Ag now, berries are not the only thing not being Harvested by human hands.

    Posted by anniet on 06 Mar 2023

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    I think they have been forced that way because of covid. No tourists were able to come in and pick so this is a great solution. It's not like it's taking away from Aussie jobs since most pickers are foreigners anyway.

    Posted by Weirdone on 06 Mar 2023

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    Makes sense. People these days don't want to do the work. So why not get a robot do it, otherwise the fruit goes to waste

    Posted by tutti_cutie on 06 Mar 2023

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    Farmers continually face the night mare of chasing pickers or extra labor for harvests..at least this means crops are picked and marketed...the shame is that so many Aussies will not do this work

    Posted by tobybee on 06 Mar 2023

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    wrestling collector

    I do not like automation that takes jobs from people,however if they are used to prevent food wastage I would support that.

    Posted by wrestling collector on 06 Mar 2023

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    They are probably faster and don't need breaks or take sick days.

    Posted by Ana on 06 Mar 2023

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    It's the future unfortunately

    Posted by ZensPeppa666 on 06 Mar 2023

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    It's sad employment is going but for the farmers, it is an option and some people are unwilling to do it well the robots will

    Posted by smurfgirl on 06 Mar 2023

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    When they cannot pick them all themselves, they need help rather than lose the crop. Be aware - the bots cost - they will not be lying idle - you are dreaming if you think it a "stop gap" measure.

    Posted by Spiderwoman on 06 Mar 2023

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    It might be because they can't get people to do the job....

    Posted by WILOLANE on 06 Mar 2023

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    i think its a sad state of affairs. why cant we get people to do these jobs is the question?? the fruit needs to be picked and the farmers have found a solution, but will it end up with humans totally out of a job, even the ones who now do the picking and rely on the work.

    Posted by Mummamagpie on 06 Mar 2023

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    cos they pay slave wages for a hard slog of a job, who would work for that?

    Posted by squeekums1 on 20 Mar 2023

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    It is a good solution for the current labour shortage which I feel is a result of all the lockdowns & mandates. Overseas backpackers were deterred from travelling here. Unforutnately If supermarkets continue to roll out self serve checkouts, people will be gradually be replaced by technology.

    Posted by Elandra on 06 Mar 2023

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    I'm all for robot fruit pickers. They don't whinge and there isn't a union for them, at least not yet....

    Posted by samsterchan on 06 Mar 2023

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    If there is a shortage of human workers then the farmers have every right to harvest their crops however they can.

    Posted by HMR57 on 06 Mar 2023

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    Berries need to be picked and if the robots are only used as a stopgap measure during times of human worker shortages, then I guess that is okay. It is when robots totally replace humans that it will become a problem.

    Posted by Sharon on 06 Mar 2023

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    A shortage of manpower is evident. I think it is a good idea, and gives farmers a surety of income.

    Posted by drjm on 06 Mar 2023

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    if they cannot get people to pick the fruit then there is no other option. Will there be any bruising?

    Posted by goodies on 06 Mar 2023

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    I think it's a great idea. When the harvest comes the fruit has to come off the trees regardless of how the fruit is removed. It's probably more efficient also. Less sickies in the workplace.

    Posted by Kiwikim on 06 Mar 2023

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    I can understand it, if they can't get the workers to do the job then robots are the next best thing. They wouldn't want there crops to go to water if they can't get anyone to to pick it.

    Posted by Anita on 06 Mar 2023

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