The thinning is done by spray, replacing hoeing or other spray methods.
“Growers used to hoeing who go out and see a stand done with a mechanized thinner are amazed at how much more uniform the lettuce is,” Koselka said.
There are prospects for further yield gains on lettuce.
“Because the crop is more uniform, growers are starting to tighten it up,” Koselka said. “Instead of 10-inch spacing, going to 9 inches can improve yield a fair amount.”
Ramsay Highlander Inc. has offered a lettuce thinner for about four years. The company is in beta testing in Europe on a robotic lettuce picker, Frank Maconachy, president and chief executive officer, told growers at the March 26 Western Growers Web seminar.