The romaine harvester is the first of its kind. It is a robot machine built by Taylor Farms of in Salinas, CA. What makes this robot even more impressive is that it doesn’t even use a knife or a blade. It cuts lettuce with water. Wow! No humans required.
Will Robot Replacing Humans on the Farm?
This romaine harvester can do the equivalent of the same work as at least 6 men out in the field. However, the water cutting robot can do the same work faster, and with water. No more sharpening blades, and no more hard days in the field bending and cutting, bending and cutting. This robot machine can bring in twice as much lettuce in only half the time as using manual laborers.
A robot machine like the romaine harvester will eliminate the harvest laborer jobs, but will improve the efficiency of the farm. This robot can cut five heads of lettuce at a time with a high pressure beam of water.
Then workers pack the heads of lettuce into boxes with a conveyer belt under a shaded canopy on-site.
Do you think technology like this is good for farmers?
Perhaps you should think about it this way: Should we accept any new technology?
This Robot Makes Farming More Efficient, What About the Economy?
When there are improvements in technology that help humans do more work for cheaper, the sacrifice is that some jobs will be eliminated. In the short term, that may sound bad for those laborers, but ulitmately, it is better to have more efficient ways to do work.
Remaining Lettuce Workers Given Raises Thanks to Robot
Although, some manual laborers had to be cut, the workers that remained on this particular farm in Salinas, CA were all given small raises from $10 per hour to $11 per hour to box lettuce under a shaded canopy.
Owner Shares the Real Reason Behind the Lettuce Cutting Robot is Labor
When asked why he decided to get such an expensive lettuce robot, the farm manager, Chris Roticci, replied: “The lack of labor.”
Believe it or not, not many people are willing to do such grueling labor. The labor that this farm owner was specifically referring to, was that of the illegal immigrant kind. Laborers that are willing to do this kind of work are harder to find since border security has been tighter along the U.S./Mexico border.
This lettuce cutting robot helped this farm become more efficient without having to rely on “cheap labor,” and has cut costs on harvesting a crop of romaine lettuce with unskilled humans.
Ultimately, Taylor farms points out that for every two low-skilled job lost, one high-skilled job is created to maintain and operate the robotic machines. Chris Roticci, manager at Taylor farms argues that they are creating better jobs, for a better way of life.
Making a Robot is Not Cheap…Yet
Creating this robot wasn’t easy. It required more than just buying Robot Kits. It required smart people with degrees in Engineering.
Engineers had to be hired that know How to Make a Robot. Engineers also point out that replacing human labor with robots eliminates repetitive motion injuries that are far too common with manually tedious jobs.
However, CBS News shared that since Agriculture is leaning more towards robot use in the future, the cost of making robots is actually going down.
Taylor Farms then uses a robo-packer that works 18 hours a day packing lettuce into boxes. The robo-packer does the equivalent of the work of 6 humans, and pays for itself in only two years. Real Robots may not be very talkative, but they get the job done more efficiently, and without any injuries.
Do you think it is better to buy robots to improve farming methods or do you think farms should put out their Robots for Sale?