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Showing posts from August, 2014

2019 almond shaking and sweeping

It is crazy to think we have been in almond harvest for two weeks now. Even crazier to think I am just now getting time to sit down and blog about it. But here we are...

We started shaking almond trees on August 6th, so more than two weeks ago. This year we started shaking more than a week later than we did the past several years. The almonds just weren't ready as early as they usually are. We have had cooler weather this year. Even to this day, there have not been as many 100 plus degree days as we usually get. I am not complaining personally, I have enjoyed this summer much better. The cooler weather just delayed everything.

The almonds need so many hot days to help them ripen and dry out for harvest. With cooler temperatures it just takes a little longer. I would say though, we are more on target to when almond harvest used to be. We only started harvesting in the end of July when the trees were more stressed from lack of water and hot temperatures. When the trees have more wat…

Irrigating during harvest

In our orchards we have multiple varieties of almonds. These varieties mature and harvest at different times throughout the harvest season. We start with nonpareils, the most popular, most produced and most widely used variety. But a field of nonpareils most often has one or two other varieties that aren't ready to harvest for a couple weeks to a month later. When we flood irrigated, we weren't able to irrigate any of the orchard until the harvest was complete on the entire orchard.  If we chose to flood irrigate, the orchard rows would be too wet and the machinery would get stuck. The weeds would also start to grow in the middle of the rows, making it difficult for the machinery to pick up the almonds.

Now that we drip irrigate our fields, we are able to harvest and irrigate at the same time. The drip hose is delivering water directly to the base of the tree roots, with only a small portion of the water staying on the surface of the ground. We are able to shake o…

Sweeping and picking up almonds

It's been about 2 weeks since we started almond shaking on the farm. We gave the almonds plenty of time to dry out and get most of the moisture out.
Now, it's time to sweep them. A sweeper machine runs through the tree rows and moves the nuts into a neat row down the middle of the orchard.  First, the sweeper blows nuts from one side of the tree line to the other. Then, the sweeper drives the opposite way through the field moving the nuts into a row. These rows make it possible for the pick up machine to come through and pick up the almond piles without running them over. 


The pick up machine is pulled behind a tractor and has an almond cart behind it. When the tractor drives over the almond rows the pick up machine scoops up the almonds, leaving behind the dirt and other debris, and drops the nuts into the almond cart. When the almond cart is full of almonds, another machine called a shuttle comes behind it in the orchard.  The almond cart empties into the shuttl…