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Almond Update: Sweeper and Pickup Tips to Reduce Dust

Brian German Almond Update

The Almond Board of California (ABC) has a variety of resources available to growers to help them reduce dust during harvest. Efforts to address issues of harvest dust are a part of the Almond Orchard 2025 goals, which include efforts to reduce harvest dust by 50 percent. Industry members are making significant strides to reach that goal by investing in low dust equipment and implementing dust-reducing practices. ABC has a set of tips for using sweeper and pickup equipment to address dust issues in orchards. The recommendations are designed to not only help with dust reduction but also save growers time and money.

Reduce Dust

Growers are encouraged to develop a sweeper route plan which includes guidance for blowing dust back into the orchard and turning off the blower when parallel with the last tree. Recommendations also include using road sign warnings to inform motorists of the potential of low visibility conditions. Growers are encouraged to use wire tines in lieu of rubber flaps, which can kick up more dust based on their size. Making only one pass with a blower instead of three can also help to reduce dust by 50 percent and help lower fuel costs.

ABC also has a set of recommendations to reduce dust during the last step of harvest, with tips for the pickup process. Before the process begins, growers working with a custom harvester are encouraged to discuss dust control practices and expectations. Because orchard conditions can change through harvest, ABC also recommends adjusting ground speed appropriately. Reducing the speed of pickup equipment from 3 MPH to 1.5 MPH can reduce dust by half. Growers can also help to address dust issues by spreading gravel, water, or dust reduction products on unpaved roads.

More information on how to reduce dust during harvest is available online from ABC.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West