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7 Tactics to Fill More Bins in Your Fruit Picking Job

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How to fill more bins (and make more money) when fruit picking!

We’ve all experienced that frustration of filling bins at an agonising pace, while seeing other fruit pickers race around with dollar signs in their eyes. As most fruit picking jobs are paid per piece or have a bin rate, you’re not going to earn decent money until you pick a decent amount of fruit. With these tactics to make your fruit picking job more productive, you’ll be filling bins up in no time!

So once you have found a job, made sure you have the right visa, you’ll be ready to hit the vines and orchards for the season. For more tips on fruit picking, check out Working a Fruit Picking Job in New Zealand. Plus, we list the seasons and best regions to work in our guide to the Picking Seasons in New Zealand.

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1. Observe experienced pickers

We know that you’d rather be picking more fruit than watching people pick fruit. However, at the beginning of the season it’s definitely worth spending a bit of time observing the experienced pickers of your group and copy their technique!

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2. Be systematic

Approaching each tree/bush/vine in a non-logical way really slows down your picking performance. You’ll spend too much time trying to figure out where you have been rather than, well, picking! Pick a system of picking and stick to it for every tree. For example, pick the left side, middle then right side.

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3. Pick top to bottom

If you’re picking fruit off trees, then it’s a rookie mistake to pick from the bottom of the tree first. You’ll then have to climb the ladder with a heavy bag making the whole job a lot harder than it needs to be!

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4. Pick with two hands!

It sounds obvious but you won’t believe the amount of people that start off picking with just one hand! Get stuck into it with two hands so you’ll go twice faster!

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5. Use your ladder properly

Again, for fruit picking off trees, you will need to use a ladder all day every day for the whole season! At first, you will really need to think where to position the ladder properly so you can reach the most apples without risky stretching, as well as keeping the ladder out of the way of other pickers. Once you have worked out a system, placing your ladder will become second nature to you.

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6. Keep an eye on the weather forecast

For some fruit picking jobs, like kiwifruit picking, one drop of rain means the end of the work day. Keep an eye on the weather forecast every evening so if you know it’s going to rain tomorrow afternoon you can go all out at work on the morning and still make a decent day’s wage. (Make sure you check out our guide to Working in New Zealand: What Are Your Rights? to make sure you are being paid a fair wage).

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7. Practice makes perfect

It’s cliche but true! When you see more experienced pickers filling bins at unfathomable speeds, you think they must be cheating. But like all jobs, you get better the more you do it. It takes about a month to start filling bins at a good speed to make some decent wages, but by following the tips on this list mixed with some determination, you’ll be picking like a pro in no time!

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