Off Ground Harvesting in Almonds
The almond industry has come a long way in terms of productivity and mechanization. But one of the challenges that remain are picking harvested nuts up off the orchard floor and the issues that come with that. Gold Leaf Farming director of asset management Sawyer Clark says he’s hopeful innovation will lead to off-ground harvesting in almonds.
Clark... " I think the machines are getting better and some of them are working. Some are essentially like pistachio harvesters, just kind of modified for almonds. Some are a different setup altogether. But my understanding is the backlog there is actually the drying process because almonds have traditionally been dried in the field. You shake the tree, the nuts fall on the ground, and then you wait until they're dry enough. Then you pick them up and take them to the processor. So if you shake the almonds right into a bin, like they do pistachios, you've got to dry that somewhere. And the processor, the almond processors aren't yet set up to dry. In walnuts or hazelnuts or even pistachios, there's more drying infrastructure as a part of the processing. So that's more normal. But almonds, the off-farm infrastructure set up to not need to be dried. So I think the machinery is actually pretty good at the farmer level. It's just, if we told a processor, Hey, we're going to bring you 20 million pounds of undried almonds, they'd be like, whoa. You know, coming from blueberries and now even hazelnuts are trying to get more and more off-ground harvest, like I'm excited about that coming to almonds."
Again that’s Gold Leaf Farming director of asset management, Sawyer Clark.