Submitted to: Western Pecan Growers Association Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/17/2007
Publication Date: 3/4/2007
Citation: Whitelock, D.P., Armijo, C.B., Buser, M.D., Hughs, S.E., Heerema, R.J. 2007. A dust abatement device for harvest. Proceedings Western Pecan Growers Association, March 4-5, 2007, Las Cruces, NM. p. 19-22. Interpretive Summary: Annual value of nuts, like pecans, almonds, and walnuts, produced in the US exceeds $3 billion. In some areas in the country, nuisance dust during harvesting can be a problem. A prototype device to reduce nuisance dust emissions during nut harvesting that could be retrofitted to the many harvesters already in service was designed and tested by USDA and New Mexico State University researchers in a commercial pecan orchard. The device captured most of the large debris that normally would be blown to the side of the harvester and showed significant potential. This research was the first test on a prototype design that will lead to design improvements and further testing. Also, further development could lead to reduced nuisance dust emissions during nut harvesting. Thus, reducing impact on air quality and fostering goodwill towards agriculture.
Technical Abstract: A prototype device was designed and tested by USDA and New Mexico State University researchers to reduce nuisance dust emissions during nut harvesting. The main goal of the project was to develop a device that could be retrofitted to the many harvesters already in service in the nut producing regions of the US. Collection performance tests were conducted in a commercial orchard. Results from the tests showed that the device captured about 77 lb of debris per minute. This was estimated to be about 27% of the total material in the windrow, including nuts. From visual inspection, it appeared that the device captured most of the large debris that normally would be blown to the side of the harvester. The dust abatement device showed significant potential in that the prototype device could capture a large portion of the debris from windrowed pecans. Further analyses and testing will include sieve analyses to determine particle size of debris captured, testing of a small scale prototype to determine collection efficiency and the effects of configuration changes, and longer duration full-size testing.