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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…

After harvest clean up, Leveling the rows

Harvest mounds left over in the rows
Now that almond harvest is over, it is time to get our fields back in shape. It is what we call orchard maintenance time of year or after harvest clean up. Oh the life of a farmer, they never stop!
 
During harvest, the picking up equipment will leave behind humps in the orchard rows. When the picking up machine picks up the almonds, part of the process is to leave the extra dirt in the field as a dirt mound. This process helps maintain the top soil in the field, and the more dirt we take out of the field and put in the trailers the more expensive trucking and hulling charges can be. The mounds in the middle of the rows will cause the tractors and equipment to travel through the field unevenly. This can be an extra problem for the flood irrigated and older orchards where the mounds could cause uneven water distribution. If the dirt mounds are left in the field until next harvest this could cause us to pick up even more dirt with the almonds next year.
Leveler implement making the rows flat

We try to take care of the potential problems caused by the mounds by getting rid of them. We have an implement we call a leveler that we pull behind a tractor to flatten the rows back to how they were before the harvest. The leveler will leave the rows smooth again. Leaving our orchard floors nice and ready for all that rain we are praying for this winter! 

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

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