View slideshow Almond harvest 2011 (VIDEO)
Annual event produces California profit
Almond harvesting is a complicated process, which requires several steps and different types of machinery. Senior Editor Danielle St. Marie, '12, documented this undertaking, which begins as early as January when the almonds are safeguarded from frost and pest.
After a long season of farming almonds, fall means nuts and other crops are ready to be harvested. The production of almonds begins in January, when almond farmers begin to care for their investments by protecting it from frost and pests. After several months, the nuts are ready for harvest and must be completed in an interval of a few weeks.
Over the past few years, almonds have risen to become California's most produced and profiting crop, surpassing grapes. The equipment used to harvest almonds has also become more advanced, which allows the process to be completed more efficiently.
The main equipment used during harvest is a tree shaker, which vibrates loose the almonds from their trees. Next, the almonds are swept up into rows, where another tractor scoops up the nut. The final stage is for the almonds to be placed into trailers and then shipped off for processing.
Some farmers are able to harvest their own crop, while others need to hire commercial almond harvesters. For the entire operation, the value of the equipment can range from $40,000 to $500,000, depending on how many different pieces of equipment the individual owns.
For more information about almond harvesting read the Feb. 17 article, Almond farmers fuel innovation, find solutions. For more videos, check out the Oct. 5 article, Chemistry class: Hydrogen bursts into flame (VIDEO).