Reducing Dust at Harvest
Improving air quality in California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, is a major issue for all residents. Sweepers and pickup machines can create a significant amount of airborne particles (PM10). Almond Board of California–funded research has developed numerous methods growers can use to reduce dust at harvest, such as changing sweeper head height, reducing the number of blower passes, using metal tines, and reducing pickup machine speed. In addition, equipment manufacturers have made changes to the sweepers and pickup machines to reduce the amount of visible and PM10 dust emitted. At this time there are incentive funds available from NRCS for use of this low-dust technology which also apply to growers who contract with custom harvesters.
Everyone involved in the harvesting of California Almonds should work to keep dust inside the orchard, considering your soil and considering your neighbors. View the video below to learn about steps you can take before harvest, while sweeping, and during pick-up that will reduce harvest dust. Making these small adjustments in harvest practices can add up to great improvements in dust reduction across the growing region.
- Sweeper Cost Analysis Calculator: A tool for determining if growers should make an extra sweeper pass or leave the remaining nuts behind.
- Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association: Evaluation of Particulate Matter Abatement Strategies for Almond Harvest (Faulkner et al.)