Modular Trellis System for Brambles

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 2009-01138
Amount: $73,734.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
2427 S HADLEY RD, Fort Wayne, IN, 46804
DUNS: 801961066
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Richard Barnes
 (260) 241-3128
Business Contact
 Richard Barnes
Title: Owner/Manager
Phone: (260) 241-3128
Research Institution
Trellis installation is a major expense for establishing a new commercial blackberry or raspberry (bramble) planting. There has been significant research by the USDA and universities on developing novel trellis designs and methods of manipulating bramble canes for cutting cost of labor for cane pruning and training, to increase hand-harvest efficiency, to improve quality and yield, mechanically harvest fresh market fruit, and to reduce winter injury. A system like the Rotatable Cross Arm (RCA) Trellis improves hand harvest efficiency, can be combined with a winter protection technique, and is amenable to harvesting fresh market quality fruit with an over-the-row mechanical harvester. But, the high cost of trellis posts and hardware has limited the expansion of this system into the commercial sector. The objective of this proposal is to develop a universal trellis post and hardware system for bramble production that will reduce trellis component and installation costs by more than 50%. We will use the latest in manufacturing technology to design fiber reinforced components and innovative methods to manufacture low cost components. These components needs to be easily configured to create the various designs needed for commercial bramble production, installed in the ground, and, if needed, quickly disassembled. This research will be conducted with scientists at USDA in Kearneysville, WV and Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. We will focus on the RCA Trellis System for blackberries at USDA and on trellis systems for high tunnel production of red raspberries at Cornell University. The research will include collaboration on trellis design and trellis requirements for blackberry and raspberry production, fabricating prototypes, laboratory testing of trellises for load and stress limitations, evaluating the adaptability of new trellis designs for blackberry and raspberry production, data collection and analysis, and preparation of a final report. The long term goal of this project is to develop a trellis system that can be economically produced, easily distributed to growers throughout the bramble industry, installed in the ground, and versatile in design for different applications in production of raspberries and blackberries. The new trellis design will be economical and lasting and will enable bramble growers to improve their profitability by using novel growing methods developed in collaboration with USDA and Cornell University.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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