Chokeberry ripens almost at once, and harvesting is usually done with a single rip.
The best time to harvest is when the fruits are black and shiny, that is, fully ripe. Immature fruits have a lower content of sugar and polyphenols and half the amount of anthocyanins compared to ripe and well-colored fruits. Ripe fruits do not fall off and do not rot, since the epidermis is very firm; therefore, they can remain on the plant for up to a month after ripening, without compromising production.
Hand-picking chokeberries is easier than black currants. If we want to preserve the fruit in the long run, it is advisable to cut the whole inflorescence with scissors, otherwise it is enough to collect only the berries. The fruits are very easy to separate from the stalk and are very resistant to manipulation. Even careless transfer from one crate to another does not cause damage or leakage of juice. Pick the fruits exclusively in crates of 10 to 15 kg, so that the fruit does not heat up. The fruit must be stored in the cold within 12 hours. One worker can harvest 80-100 kg of fruit per day.
In Poland, Germany and Finland, mechanized harvesting was tested using machines intended for black currants: Polish models KPS-3 and KPS-4, German HTS 30.04 / 1 and T922E and Finnish Joonas. The obtained results are encouraging, thanks primarily to the high resistance of the fruits to manipulation and the ability to stand on the bush for a long time. In addition, delaying the harvest reduces the number of insufficiently ripe fruits, and thus the losses related to unharvested fruits.
The harvest is best done at the end of August and the beginning of September, which is conditioned by the number of sunny days and the altitude of the plantations. During this period, the weight of the fruit no longer increases, and the force required to pluck the berries decreases significantly.
The working capacity of the combine is 0,25-0,30 ha / h. In order for the use of the combine to be economically justified, it is necessary to have an area of at least 20-25 hectares. Namely, if we assume that the working capacity is 0,23 ha / hour, 8 ha can be turned in 1,8 hours in one day, while by using the machine for 15 days, we will cover 27 ha. Since chokeberry ripens after black currant, and in order to make better use of the machine and reduce costs, the same machines used to harvest currants are used to harvest chokeberry.
About 800-1.200 h / ha (taking an average of 10 kg / h) is needed for manual harvesting of chokeberry fruits, while the combine needs 15 hours and only 3 workers to cover the same area. Since harvesting greatly affects the total costs of plantation management, mechanized harvesting should be seriously considered.