Pecan production mechanisation has seen steady improvement in efficiency. Joe Spencer examines some of the latest equipment on offer locally.
With an eye on boosting productivity through mechanisation, agricultural equipment supplier Rovic Leers has identified the three most important areas in pecan production as harvesting, spraying and tree structure management. Pecans have become so valuable that it is crucial to prevent losses through poor collection. Preventing a 5% crop loss can mean an improvement of up to R600 000 in revenue per annum in a 50ha orchard producing 3t/ha.
Shaking the trees
The shaking process needs to be quick and effective, with none of the crop left hanging in the tree. It should also avoid damage to the crop caused by driving over nuts left on the ground.
Accordingly, the COE M7 Mono Boom Shaker has been designed for pecan trees up to 16m tall, and can strip them of all nuts quickly and effectively. Sweepers in front of and behind each wheel ensure that the minimum amount of crop is driven over.
Sweeping & blowing
Flory sweepers and blowers are available in both self-propelled and tractor-mounted models. The performance is exactly the same; your choice depends on the amount of space available under the trees. The self-propelled version seen here has an extremely low profile of 1,4m.
The sweeper follows the ground contour for a 2,6m-wide clean sweep. The drive to the reel is hydrostatic, and the speed can be adjusted to suit material volume.
Gathering the crop
The self-propelled Flory 8600 harvester shown below and the 860 trailed version have exactly the same harvesting capacities and crop-cleaning characteristics.
A low-velocity, high-capacity fan and a three-step cleaning process remove pebbles, dirt and sand through the conveyor chain, and grass and leaves through the suction process, resulting in a cleaner sample and less wear on working parts.
Tree structure management
The Gillison GVF rear centrally-mounted topper and hedger provides optimal operator visibility and safety. It is mounted to the tractor’s three-point linkage and has an independent hydraulic system.
With a 5m-long cutter blade and the ability to reach a height of 6,5m, this is the ideal tool for efficient tree structure management.
Joe Spencer is the mechanisation editor of Farmer’s Weekly.