Reducing Dust at Harvest
The California almond community is dedicated to producing an economically, environmentally and socially responsible crop for California. Recognizing our local role in California agriculture and global role as a powerhouse in almond production, we're working to grow almonds in better, safer and healthier ways, protecting our communities and the environment.
The Almond Orchard 2025 Goals are the latest way the California almond community is committed to continuous improvement, and one of our 2025 Goals is to reduce dust during harvest by 50% by 2025. The California the almond community is taking short- and long-term steps to reimagine how we harvest, from in-orchard improvements to technological advancements.
Watch this video to learn more about our commitment to reducing dust.
Creating a clean orchard floor is one key step growers can take to help reduce dust - and save them time and money - before the flurry of harvest begins. Growers should look to remove unwanted vegetation, remove sticks and other debris, and fill in holes so that nuts don't drop in and get stuck in those ruts.
Learn more about the importance of these three steps below.
Recommended practices to reduce dust while sweeping take many forms. Growers should use fewer blower passes when and where possible, ensure the sweeper heads are set to optimal levels, based on local conditions, and more.
Watch the video below to learn five key recommendations to reduce dust during sweeping and how implementing these practices can save you both time and money.
Reducing dust during pickup, the final step of harvest, comes down to slower speeds and good communication with equipment operators and custom harvesters.
Learn how reduced MPH and RPMs are the cornerstone of reducing dust during pickup:
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.)