Harvesting Pecans

My dad is a pecan harvester in Louisiana. Harvesting pecans does not involve walking around pecan trees and using your hands to fill a bag with pecans. Harvesting pecans like my dad does involves tractors, sprayers, shakers, pickers, cleaners, and other expensive farming machines. These machines mechanize the process of getting pecans from the trees, to the ground, off the ground, separated from sticks and debris, and into 500 pound bags for shipment to shelling plants. The process requires years of mechanical and agricultural experience. And last but not least, the process requires season hiring of farm labor crews to man the machines and fully harvest an orchard. Orchards are harvested in the winter, roughly between October and the end of February. My dad and the crews endure long hours and very cold winter temperatures to get pecans from the trees to the markets. An orchard may be anywhere from a quarter-mile square up to a full mile square. There may be a thousand trees or more than a hundred-thousand trees. My dad can harvest the small ones in a week or two and the largest ones in a month or two, before moving all the equipment and people to the next orchard.

Here is a small gallery of images from one orchard he harvested years ago. Unfortunately, I only have a few images, and they do not capture the entire harvesting process. But at least  you can get a small glimpse into the world of pecan harvesting.

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