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Sticks, leaves and dirt...OH MY!

Almonds are harvested off a tree, where we shake them on the ground. Then they are swept into rows and picked up. Sounds like a fairly easy and simply process but there are a lot of moving parts with several steps and processes along the way.


If you start with shaking a tree, the vibrations don't just knock the almonds off the tree but of course any loose sticks or leaves will also fall too. This could cause a problem when it comes to sweeping the nuts. The sticks could get caught in the sweeper brushes and maybe even get caught up in the irrigation hoses.


Once the nuts are in the rows and the harvester is set to run through to pick up the almonds, those sticks could be troublesome again. The harvester will generally have to run at a slower speed through the field as to allow for the sticks to not get caught up in the series of belts that carry the almonds up. When the harvester empties the almonds into the shuttle cart and further on the elevator, sticks can clog up belts and c…

No moisture = Poling

California hasn’t had any rain this winter season and we have had barely any foggy days. In the Southern Central Valley we are known to have thick Tule fog, but we haven’t had any this year. Without the rain or fog there is little to no moisture in our air. Almond farmers need moisture to properly winter shake their trees, as we discussed in winter shaking. Without the moisture the almonds don’t shake off the tree.

If the shaker isn’t shaking all those almonds off the trees we have to bring in poling crews. This of course is an added expense that could leave the farmer with a bill that he wasn’t prepared for, as much as an additional $200 per acre, and all because mother nature didn’t respond to our rain dances. A crew upwards of 20 people take long 20 foot poles and walk through the orchards shaking any almonds off the trees that the shaker couldn’t shake off. You can imagine how tedious of a process this is. Your crew of people must be very vigilant and attentive to the trees making sure to get every last almond off.

 


The picture below shows what those almonds could look like if left on the tree. They are a point of disease for the tree and like below, could have worms living in them trying to survive the cold of winter. If the worm survives the winter, then in the spring it will become a moth and infest next years crop making it inedible. The poling crew is very helpful in shaking every last almond off the tree so we have a clean tree heading into bloom.





Until Next Time,
Almond Girl 

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