Well we got all our filberts (hazelnuts) in before the monsoon weather hit this past weekend. It was a good reminder that not all harvests go as smoothly as they have the past three years with only dust to complain about…mud is much worse! But we got all of our orchards picked up twice, so I’m not complaining one bit!
The process of harvesting is no small task. You have to first wait for the nuts to fall on the ground naturally (no tree shaking around here). Once down a sweeper goes up and down each row twice. It sweeps the nuts into the center of the trees one way and blows the nuts out from under the tree the other way, making a windrow between the trees.
After they leave our farm the hazelnuts are washed and dried at a processor. This is done in 8 days or less so as to avoid any mold growing. Once the nuts are dried, they are preserved and can be bagged for storage.
Like I said, harvest went well for us this year, but it’s always interesting to see what is new out in the world for harvesting equipment. So when I was asked if we would be interested in trying out a new all in one harvester the answer was simple.
The next day Pape Machinery brought over a Monchiero Harvester. We were pretty excited to try it, mostly because it takes the multitude of steps I described above to get the nuts from the field to the truck, and shrinks them into an all in one machine!
Here are a few photos I took of the machine in action, along with a video.
One big upside I can see to having a machine like this is the ability to just go and start harvesting. There is no waiting around for a sweeper to get an orchard prepared, no hesitation about how many rows you should sweep ahead of the harvester, it just takes a lot of the second guessing out of harvest. If you get a window, it would only take you and one other worker to get the job accomplished. Today on our farm it’s a 4 man job to get our harvest done, taking valuable time away from other fall work like planting and soil preparations.
A big thank you to Pape Machinery for bringing out such a great machine to help us finish up our harvest!
For more hazelnut harvest photos and videos check out some of my past posts.