Pecan Processing & Storage
Mechanical harvesting of pecans occurs in fall between October and December, after hulls have started to dehisce. A hydraulic shaker is used to shake each tree to dislodge nuts. Shakers typically have padded arms which clamp to tree trunks. Nuts are mechanically swept into windrows, where they are picked up by a mechanical harvester (Mosz, 2002). The hulls are then separated from nuts at a hulling facility. This mechanical harvest method is similar to walnut harvesting.
After hulling, nuts are typically dried to 4% kernel moisture at 75° F, with relative humidity below 60% and moderate air flow. Pecan nuts can be stored up to one year at 32° to 34° F (Ogburn et al., 1988). Nuts should be frozen if they are stored longer than one year.