Tips for Managing Almond Dust
It’s no secret that the dust kicked up during the almond harvesting process is a nuisance. Not only does it affect neighbors of our orchards, but the decreased visibility can impact worker safety and harvest quality. In order to help you reduce the environmental impact of your harvest, we’ve put together a few helpful tips to follow.
Maintain the Floor
Maintaining a clean orchard floor is not only a best practice for improving the efficiency and quality of your harvest, but it’s also a great way to help reduce dust. By removing debris as well as filling in ruts and holes, you improve the quality of the pick-up and also reduce the number of passes you’ll have to make. Reducing those passes means reducing the dust they kick up. As a bonus, making sure you don’t lose nuts in holes and ruts obviously improves your harvest.
Sweeping the almonds into windrows can be an especially dusty process, but there are a few things you can do to keep things to a minimum. The first is to develop a sweeping route that directs the dust back towards the orchard instead of out of it. Using just wire tines instead of rubber flaps will also keep dust levels down while setting the sweep height as high as feasible will kick up less dust while also keeping you from scoring your orchard floor.
Another effective way to reduce dust dramatically is to invest in newer, low-dust harvesting equipment. Taking advantage of San Juan Valley equipment replacement programs can make this investment significantly more attractive. Harvesters from companies like Exact have made great strides in reducing dust through innovations like spraying moisture into discharge chutes, capturing dust and sending it straight to the ground.