How We Grow

2019 March/April How We Grow

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 5 of 15

6 A L M O N D O R C H A R D 2 0 2 5 G O A L S HARVEST DUST Less Dust in the Wind Requires More Research, Better Measurement It's often said that there is power in numbers, and that adage holds true for dust. While a single speck easily goes unnoticed, the same cannot be said when it gets together with a few million of its closest friends — that's when dust becomes an issue for the almond community. Thankfully, the Almond Board of California (ABC) and ABC-funded researchers are bringing clarity to the issue, and to the air. Extensive research funded by the Almond Board over the last two decades has helped shape what we know today as best practices for dust management at harvest. Continued research will move the industry along a path of improvement — a path that will help us achieve the Almond Orchard 2025 Goal to reduce harvest dust by 50% over the next seven years. "Our industry has already made great strides in managing dust," said Sebastian Saa, senior manager, Agricultural Research, ABC. "And while this progress is important, we're even more excited about what's to come as we invest in research to propel us toward the next level." Findings from the Lone Star State Two recent research projects provide great insights in the areas of dust produced by harvest equipment and how to better measure visible dust — an important step in determining the most effective dust mitigation strategies. Conducted by Sergio Capareda, Ph.D., PE, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University, both projects serve the Almond Orchard 2025 Goal for dust reduction. In his first project, Capareda explored differences in particulate matter (PM) emissions and collection efficiencies between old and new harvesting machines. Capareda's research determined that newer machines significantly reduce PM10 and PM2.5 emissions (PM measuring 10 microns or 2.5 microns in diameter) and total suspended particulates (TSP) with proper adjustments. Capareda's recommendation: The almond community should look to invest in newer machinery by taking advantage of government programs, if possible. Newer machinery has the potential to reduce dust emissions by about half, determined from the average of all machine models tested. Capareda's second project evaluated four visible dust test protocols. They included: Using EPA Certified Professionals to evaluate dust during harvest (the EPA Method 9 or Visual Emissions Evaluation) Using certified professionals to capture digital images on camera or video and converting them into digital opacity values (the EPA Alt 082 or DOCS II digital opacity compliance system version II) Directly measuring opacity at the orchard floor during harvest using opacity meters Mounting PM measuring instruments onto drones that follow harvesters during operations Sergio Capareda, Ph.D., PE, Professor and Faculty Fellow Texas A&M University "Agriculture is not the leading cause of problematic air emissions, but almond growers and handlers can mitigate the problem by reducing their own contributions." – Sergio Capareda, Ph.D., PE

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of How We Grow - 2019 March/April How We Grow