Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Finally, pecan harvest underway

    Last week we saw temperatures plunge into the lower teens. Then we finally experienced a string of dry weather days. These factors, combined, have allowed me to go full throttle on pecan harvest over the past several days.
     The deep cold helped to freeze dry the shucks which allows the nuts to fall freely during tree shaking (photo of Kanza nuts at right). The dry weather was needed because we've had so much rain this fall that the soil in the pecan orchard was saturated. And, you just can't pick pecans on muddy ground.

   I started harvest this year by identifying areas in the orchard that had the driest soil conditions. I use a Savage pecan shaker equipped with doughnut pads to remove the nuts from the tree (photo above).  This year, the nuts are easily removed with just a quick touch on the throttle to ramp up the shaker. I just love the sound of nuts raining down on the canopy of the tractor. It reminds me of all the great pecan harvests I've seen in the past.
   After shaking I used my pecan harvester to sweep the nuts up off the ground (photo at right). These pecan harvesters are great at picking pecans but if the soil conditions are too wet they will also pick up mud. This is why I started harvesting trees growing in the drier spots of the farm. After 4 days of drying weather, I've gotten over 80% of the farm but unfortunately it doesn't look like I'll get to those wetter spots before the next round of rainy weather sets in.
   Thankfully, I now have an ample supply of nuts picked up and safety stored in the barn. On the predicted rainy days ahead, I can begin cracking nuts to supply new crop pecans for my wife's roadside fruit market.