Sunday, November 22, 2020

A good week for second harvest



    This past week we had another stretch of dry weather so I took the opportunity to go back into the orchard to scrap pick any pecans I missed a couple of weeks ago.  When I shook the trees back in early November, not all the nuts fell from the trees. But this past week, all the shucks were fully open (photo above) so a quick shake brought any remaining nuts to the ground.  

       Running the harvester over the orchard a second time might seem like a waste of time, especially if you take a quick look at what's inside the hopper. A second pass over the orchard floor seems to bring in far more sticks, stick-tights, and other trash. But over the years I've always found that a second harvest can increase my total harvest from 15% to 30%. During short crop years, like this year,  I expected my second harvest to be understandably small. After cleaning second harvest nuts I came up with 15% more crop for 2020.


   The amount of trash harvested during a second harvest can be over-whelming especially since I'm a one man operation. I help make my job easier by dumping the harvester's hopper directly into a pre-cleaner. In photo above, the hopper of the harvester is lifted into the dump position. For those of you familiar with a Savage pre-cleaner, you'll note I've added two side boards to the pre-cleaner's hopper. These extensions help prevent the spilling of nuts if my aim with the harvester is off a little bit. Once the door opens on the hopper to dump nuts, pecans fall out quickly.

    A Savage pre-cleaner uses a strong fan to blow leaves, shucks, sticks and light pecans out of the crop. Once the nuts pass over the fan, an elevator lifts to nuts up to be dumped into a truck, grain cart, or in my case, a super-sack. Once the semi-clean nuts are in a super-sack, I can store them in my barn until I have time to fully clean and inspect them using my cleaner.