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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…

Winter shaking

It's been an unusually mild winter thus far. Not nearly enough rain or snow for what we need by this time of year. Pray for rain and water to come our way. Normally by this time of the year we have 3 inches or so. This year we have only had about half an inch, maybe. Rain is in our extended forecast for next Thursday, only 30% chance but I'm hopeful Mother Nature will hear our farmers cries!  

We need the rain to help our ground water supply. If it doesn't rain we will need to irrigate using our wells or irrigation district water even earlier than we otherwise would. We are only allotted so much irrigation district water each year, and we want to save our allotment to use it for the hot and productive months. If we don't receive enough rain and snow that allotment will be reduced by the state, as it has been for the past few years. If we use our ground water in the winter, we are lowering our water table with nothing to recharge it. Farmers pray for rain this time of year to help water the fields now and for the dams and lakes to store for our summer months irrigation. So do your rain dance!

It hasn't been too chilly, but we have had some cool foggy days. Those foggy mornings when it's a little damp are perfect for winter shaking. What's winter shaking you ask? In the winter after the trees have gone 'dormant' or asleep for the winter, they start to loose their leaves and the nuts that are left on the tree turn to mummies. During harvest time we sometimes aren't able to shake all the almonds off the tree due to some not being mature or ready to harvest all at the same time. Then, in the winter these nuts that are left on the trees allow insects to survive the winter and are a disease center for fungi and other infections to develop. By shaking the almonds off during the winter time we shake off some chance of these diseases settling in the tree. The fog and damp weather helps loosen up the mummies, making it ideal for winter shaking.

Shaking the mummies and leaves off the tree

Almond mummies left on the tree before winter shaking

Almond tree after winter shaking
Until Next Time,
Almond Girl 

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