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Machine Plucking

Tea was traditionally plucked by hands. Utilize of plucking tool only appeared end of Meiji era to Taisho era. The second year of Taisho era, the first scissors like plucking tool was invented and introduced by Ryohei Uchida in Kikugawacho of Shizuoka. This plucking tool became very popular due to its productivity. This tool made possible to harvest teas 5-10 times faster. With skill, tea can be picked in quite good condition like hand picked tea. In the 1950th, the first automatic tea plucking machine was invented. After 1950th, the number of tea farmers using machines for their harvest increased rapidly. Productivity is 2-3 times greater than former scissors like plucking tools. In late 60th, the new type of tea plucking machine was developed. This is designed to be used by two people. Two people become a pair and use. Only the trouble is it requires to be used by two people, but very productive and flexible, and price is also quite reasonable. Even now, this type of plucking machine is most popularly used. In early 70th, automobile type of tea plucker was started to be used. The automobile is designed to stride over the tea bush and operated by a person. Using this automobile style of plucker, tea in 10-acre farm is picked in approximately 10 hours. This type of machine is widely used at the flat area tea estates, especially in Kagoshima prefecture. More than 1000 automobile style pluckers are currently used in South Kyusyu. Automobile style pluckers were also started to be used in Shizuoka from 1963, and now more than 10 this type of pluckers are used in Shizuoka. Currently, development of the smaller sized automobile style plackers is under the studies. From 1989, newly developed full-automatic tea plucker (using rail) are started to be used for the large tea estate (190 hectares and more). This machine runs on the rail along tea bushes and plucks the tea. This does not require two people for operation but the productivity is slightly less than the movable plucker. .Also there is a robot goes along the tea bush and operates the plucking machine.