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Harvest is Here

Almond harvest is here! Almond trees are shaking all over the valley and it's officially harvest season. About a week ago we started shaking on our farm.





But before you even start shaking, mowing is the true first sign of harvest. We don't just mow to make the orchard a cleaner environment. Grass could cause harvest equipment to get clogged up and unnecessary debris get stuck with the almonds  Weeds also take vital nutrients and water away from the trees and root system.


Once mowing is done, the orchard is ready for shaking! I like to say we shake the L out of them. Makes sense if you remember where I grew up. In Northern California we say A-MEND, just like salmon. None of that ALL-MEND business. But regardless of what you want to call it, almond shaking is how we get the nuts on the ground.



After we started shaking, the next day we were ready to start sweeping. Sweeping is the process of getting the almonds in nice, clean windrows so they can be picked up. Unfortunately, th…

Inside Look: Weiss McNair, Nut harvesting equipment

I have found myself to be quite the tour junkie lately. Any chance I can get to see the inside look of how things are made or just learn different processes, I am so there! I had the opportunity to have an inside look into one of the leading nut harvesting equipment manufacturing facility's and I couldn't help but want to share it with all of you. This is not an endorsement or paid post, this is my honest opinion of a farmer tour I received.



Weiss McNair is a leader in nut harvesting equipment manufacturing. The company began in 1966 and they have grown to have quite the extensive portfolio of tractor-pulled and self-propelled harvesters, self-propelled sweepers, tractor mounted blowers, and tractor mounted sweepers. Their equipment is designed to be used in a variety of nut crops including almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, chestnuts and jojoba beans. Because everyone is looking for jojoba bean harvesting equipment, lol!
They are based out of Chico, Ca and while a majority of their equipment is sold in the nut growing regions of the United States, they also have equipment in Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Spain, France, Italy, Israel, Portugal, South Africa and Turkey. I know what your thinking, that's it?




Now, I think that's pretty impressive for a small town manufacturer. To be honest, growing up this manufacturer was right in my backyard and I had no idea the extent of their business until I toured their facility myself. Who knew such precise and top notch equipment could be made in a small town?
My family has always done business with Weiss McNair and I guess it just never dawned on me that their equipment could be used to help farmers so far away as well as right here in California.


The tour was pretty cool and overwhelming with lots of large equipment and metal everywhere. I will do my best to explain the manufacturing side of how these useful machines are made, but boy was it impressive.





My tour began with the laser cutter. This massive monstrosity precisely cuts down the metal to be used to build their equipment. The operator simply tells the machine what size and dimensions of metal it needs and this cutter gets busy. This machine saves time and man power of the previous method of hand cutting the metal. I really can't describe how large this metal cutter is, but it was huge.
Laser Metal Cutter
 The finished product is precisely cut pieces of metal that can now be welded together to form a piece of equipment. Here Mr Terry Allread, Director of Manufacturing, shows one finished piece that will soon become a side door for a nut harvester.
Mr. Terry Allread showing a finished piece.
All of those precisely cut and welded pieces come together to form different nut harvesting equipment. Magic! It is crazy how metal, nuts, bolts and welds come together to form such diverse equipment.
Stack of blowers to be used for sweepers


 These blower blades were once sheets of metal waiting to be cut by the laser. Now, they are cut to size, and the holes were cut for bolts. The blades and the associated pieces of metal have all gone from a flat sheet of metal to a useful tool in the harvesting of almonds.



Sweeper engine and machine coming together
Now the frame of the sweeper has to be assembled, which includes a lot of welding!! This helps make the space for the engine to be mounted into the new machine. This is just the start of assembling the sweeper. There are A LOT of hydraulic and electronic components that come next.

Open cab sweeper
Completed low profile enclosed cab sweeper
Completed Tractor pulled V sweeper
Next, there are multiple options that a sweeper can be made into for finishing the machine. Growers preferences vary depending on use, locations, and crop. And this is just sweepers, the same process occurs with all other nut harvesting lines they manufacture.

California Special nut harvester

From the raw materials that they start with, to the finished product the manufacturing of these machines is precise and a very sophisticated process.  It's hard to describe in words just how massive and impressive this facility was. If you ever find yourself in Chico, I suggest you stop by and check it out for yourself. I sure do have a new appreciation for those sweepers sitting in our shop yard. And just maybe now you have had an inside look into one component of nut harvesting equipment.






Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

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