Shake, Rattle, and Roll

Tenias almond harvester in the orchard

Almonds are nutritious, delicious, and among the world's most popular tree nut. And because they only grow in a few places in the world, maximizing productivity is critical. Tenias S.A. is improving the efficiency of harvest with a John Deere–powered almond harvester designed to shake, gather, and shell the nuts in a single pass.

Fruitful harvesting

In fact, this self-propelled almond harvester is changing the way the booming almond industry sets up its orchards to be more fruitful with less hassle. The harvester straddles the trees, shaking, gathering, and shelling the almonds as it moves along.

"We actually developed this machine 20 years ago, but the market wasn’t ready for it then. Now, many almond orchards are set up so they can work with our harvester," says Jesus Tenias, CEO at Tenias S.A.

Specifically, this involves spacing rows of trees approximately 5.5 meters (18 feet) apart and maintaining a maximum tree height of 5.5 meters (18 feet) and tree trunk height of 90 centimeters (35.5 inches). This allows the harvester to process five to six trees per minute. Plus, a single operator can manage all functions, from coupling onto the tree and shaking to gathering and shelling almonds in just one continuous pass.

How it works

An adjustable timer ensures the right amount of vibration for the ripe almonds to fall from the tree, while those still maturing remain hanging. The fruit falls from the tree into a tray, then slides down to the conveyor belt that takes it to the sheller. The sheller removes tree bark, leaves and shell, and deposits the fruit directly into a hopper. A 2.2-cubic meter (0.78-cubic foot) capacity hopper comes standard, but an extended 3.2-cubic meter (113-cubic foot) hopper is available.

At the end of a row of trees, the hoppers are emptied in a container, so the fruit can be transported to the warehouse. In almond production, nothing goes to waste: the hulls are used to feed livestock, the shells as livestock bedding, and the trees are recycled at the end of their productive lives to create alternative energy.

Power with a global perspective

All this shaking, gathering, and shelling is powered by a John Deere PowerTech&tradel PWL 4.5L Final Tier 4/Stage IV engine. Engineers from Spanish John Deere engine distributor, Transdiesel S.L., participated in designing the prototype in 2016. "Tenias harvesters are designed and manufactured entirely in Spain," says Daniel Moreno, account manager at Transdiesel. "They are popular in the USA, as well as almond-growing regions in Spain and Portugal. We helped ensure the best engine configuration and fit in the machine design, as well as compliance with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), CARB (California Air Resources Board), and EU (European Union) emission standards."

"Customers want engines offering a quick response, a constant speed, and excellent fuel efficiency," adds Jesús Tenias. "John Deere engines are known to meet these needs, so when customers hear 'there's a Deere inside,' they're happy. Our relationship with Transdiesel is excellent; the very qualified technical team supports us in developing innovative products and getting them to market quickly."

It is, from beginning to end, a very fruitful collaboration.

When customers hear there’s a Deere inside, they’re happy.

Jesús Tenias
CEO at Tenias S.A