Source: Washington State University

Advancements in the mechanization of farm equipment are reducing labor costs, increasing efficiency and improving profits for area growers of specialty crops.

Recently, in order to meet the issue of labor head on, a consortium of university, federal and private industry researchers was formed in an effort to develop a comprehensive automation strategy for specialty crops. As Dan Bernardo, dean of the Washington State University College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences said, "We must keep the specialty crop industry competitive, or we lose it-and all its jobs-to global competitors. Labor cost and availability is the number one threat at this time."

WSU Extension educator Gwen Hoheisel said the Autonomous Prime Mover is a piece of equipment that has the potential capability to improve profit and reduce labor costs for growers of specialty crops.

Read the original news release.