Saturday, November 29, 2014

Another great day for harvest

    Today was another absolutely beautiful day for harvesting pecans. We broke out the old Lockwood pecan picker to harvest one of our cultivar trails (photo at right). This Lockwood machine may be over 40 years old but it still the best machine for harvesting the small, two-tree plots in this trial. Each cultivar is painted with a different color code to make identifying plots easy from the seat of the shaking tractor or harvester. Trees with yellow paint are Greenriver. Red and green paint on the same tree indicates a Chetopa while blue and white means Giles. There are 9 cultivars in this trial with each cultivar having a different color code. It definitely makes for a colorful orchard.

       When the Lockwood picker was designed back in the late 1960's, pecans were handled in burlap bags. Once the hopper gets full of nuts, we pause the machine, drop the out-feed gate, and the nuts come pouring out (photo at left). This system was originally designed to pour nuts into a burlap bag but we have refitted our Lockwood with a longer out-feed chute capable of  dropping the nuts into an portable elevator.
    The elevator lifts the nuts up and drops them into a waiting super sack (photo at right). This way, we can use a tractor for all the heavy lifting instead of getting a sore backs.
   We mounted the elevator on an axle and wheels to allow us to move it around the pecan grove.  A gas-powered,  electric generator provides the electricity needed to power the elevator.