Here's the very quick skinny on how the hazelnut harvest went at the Illinois planting: really good; considering.
Sorry to say Dr. Brandon has all the photos at the moment, and he's up to his neck in the regular alligators; and I'm in Virginia.
Details: alas, only about 20% of the nuts we saw in mid-August were still on the bushes when we arrived Sept. 4. Three factors; we'd had several days of very high winds just before (the kind that blows semis off roads); deer had been eating a couple specific breeding-lines of the hazels far more intensively than we'd ever seen before, and there were more tree squirrels in the plantings than we'd expected (gray squirrels, is what we saw).
We did pick up a fair number of good nuts from the ground, but only a tiny fraction of what had been blown off, of course. Sept. 4 is extremely late to start harvest, of course, so this was not entirely unanticipated. We kept hoping a machine would materialize, which made us put it off longer than we would have otherwise.
With 8 pickers, it took us 1.5 days to pick what was there; not bad. We DID get in a substantial quantity of nuts; Dr. B has a photo of us all and the pile of bags; we'll get it up here soon.
So; no tonnage; but, lots of good news:
The bud mite is well established throughout the planting.
EFB (Anisogramma) is present, though we'd failed to find it earlier, and is well established on several plants; some of its companion microorganisms are also already present.
The overall quality of the nuts from this planting are very greatly improved from earlier plantings, demonstrating that BRC breeding techniques work well.
The genetic diversity in the planting includes several variations that will make machine harvest easier. A primary chore ahead of us is choosing which of several harvest strategies to pursue.
The genetic diversity in the planting was also important in a little extra incentive to Dr. Wiegrefe; as you'll see in the next post...