MACHINE HARVESTING LAVENDER
Since 2009 our primary means of harvesting is by way of a tractor mounted machine from Clier, a French agricultural engineering company located in the lavender growing region of Provence. Snowy River Lavender is definitely not a broad acre farm with many different sized plantings dotted opportunistically around our steep property. Thus in choosing a harvester the hilly terrain and the tightness of some small patches were important issues to us. We also wanted a harvester which showed respect to the plants and flowers being harvested, meaning we wanted a harvester which cut the flower whole without mulching, and had the sensitivity and scope of function to be able to harvest plants of varying size. In this respect Clier has produced a beautiful machine with enormous scope of operability and while it is not an easy machine to use in our conditions we have however people in our ranks with the necessary machinery skills to operate this harvester with efficiency in challenging situations.
THE MECHANICS OF GATHERING FLOWER
The harvester straddles one row of lavender cutting the row to its left as it slowly moves along. Long yellow arms to either side of the cutting deck lift slightly the splayed bushes so that the side flowers can be cut. Cut flower then moves up a specially designed conveyor into the hopper.
TRANSFERRING FLOWER FROM THE HARVESTER
Cut flower is transferred to the distillery via truck. Until 2012 moving flower from the hopper into the truck was largely manual. Flower was conveyed out onto a tarp then swung into the truck. In 2012 the farms bobcat skid tractor found another use and is now used to perform the transfer making it physically easier for all involved.TRANSFERRING FLOWER FROM THE HARVESTER