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GP Graders Upgrade Helps Yarra Valley Cherries’ Packhouse Operation Blossom

Nestled in the rolling hills of Victoria’s Yarra Valley, Yarra Valley Cherries is a boutique grower with 20,000 trees and over 35 varieties. Unlike some other growers in the area who offer a pick-yourself experience, Yarra Valley Cherries focuses on selling premium, ultra-fresh cherries at their Farm Gate Shop as well as distributing the fruit within the domestic and international markets.

Yarra Valley Cherries are a long-time GP Graders’ customer. Orchard managers, Robyn and Peter have been with the business for many years and have grown and evolved with us over that time. They added gpVision™ and an extra two lanes to their existing grader in 2022, bringing them up to 4 lanes. Here’s their take on how their machine (and upgrades) help them to run more efficient and effective packhouse operations – even in the most challenging of seasons.

What’s the best thing about moving over to gpVision™?

With the addition of gpVision™, the grading program is far more accurate and reliable. In the past, grading 35 varieties of cherries has been a challenge as each variety has its own characteristics. This would mean stopping to adjust settings and making tweaks when switching between varieties. The team can now run most of their varieties with the same program, as they can rely on the versatility of the gpVision™ system to accurately grade the fruit.

The ability to grade multiple varieties of fruit on the same day without having to stop and start allows the team to pick, grade and get the best fruit to market without delay.

What’s the benefit of having a local support team on call?

Having the guys on call here in Melbourne is a huge advantage. They are available to help when issues arise, such as a defect detection adjustment being required or support when we run a new variety. Support is available over the phone and in real-time, where the techs dial directly into the console. Adjustments are made remotely to get the packhouse operations up and going quickly so productivity flows.

How does Exit Manager have an impact on packhouse productivity?

In previous years communication breakdown has meant that some packages have been underweight. As a premium supplier, sending out product that is the correct weight is essential. Exit Manager has been a game changer. The pack weight is entered into the central console. The desired weight clearly appears on the screen at the end of each lane, so each packer knows what weight box they are working on.

Additionally, the packers are unable to adjust the tare weight themselves, so there is no risk of a setting being overridden. The technology allows the team to change between weights easily and has eradicated underweight packages in the 2022/23 packing season.

Has putting on two extra lanes made a significant difference?

The addition of two lanes has allowed the team at Yarra Valley Cherries to get through twice as much, even in a slow season plagued with torrential rain and staff shortages. At full capacity and with full staffing, the growers are confident of an output of 1500kg per hour or more.

Even in a year filled with environmental and staffing challenges, gpVision™ and adding two additional lanes have proved fruitful for this Victorian grower. The additions have future-proofed their business for the years to come.

Interested in exploring how GP Graders or gpVision™ can streamline your packing shed operations? Let’s talk.

Author: gpgraders
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