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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Drought slowing us down...again

We are in full swing of almond harvest on the farm. Shaking, sweeping, picking up and hauling the crop away to the huller. There is a lot going on out on the farm lately. But one thing is slowing all of us almond farmers down. It's this dang drought again, it seems to keep popping up in new ways. Our orchard rows have too much debris, the wood chips and dirt are slowing things down for the pick up machines and even at the huller.

So if you remember, when we have dead branches or prunings from our trees, we chip them up and add them back into the soil. This process helps keep those nutrients in the orchard and usually helps with rebuilding the soil. Well, because we have had very little rain in this drought, these wood chips haven't had enough time to breakdown into the soil. Our irrigation is even less than usual since we don't have any federal or state water on our farm, so we aren't able to irrigate as much as we'd like. All these factors lead to these wood chips and debris still in large forms on the orchard floors.

When our sweepers sweep the almonds into rows for the pick up machine, the debris is being gathered up with the almonds. This is causing the pick up equipment to move slower through the fields. We aren't able to separate the almonds from the chips in the field so we are hauling everything off the huller as is. When these loads arrive at the huller, it is an even slower process there trying to separate everything out. The huller is getting backed up, and accumulating their own garbage piles of these chips. 

We aren't the only growers experiencing this mess. With lack of rain and insufficient irrigation water, many growers are in the same situation. Harvesters and hullers alike are being slowed down, costing us all more money, trying to turn out a crop. That's the thing with droughts, they seem to always have side effects that you don't think of or realize until it's too late. This time of year is the most important for us, we wait all year for this. It's simple really, farmers need water. If we don't get it, we will continually have these set backs and side effects hurting us from being as efficient and effective as possible.

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

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