Harvesting lavender using a special self-propelled harvester in round bales at Valensole, in Fʀᴀɴᴄᴇ

Agriculture Technology

The Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region is home to one of Fʀᴀɴᴄᴇ’s most famous natural areas, the Plateau de Valensole, which is known for its lavender fields. I observed several harvesting processes early in July while on vacation, and some amiable farmers invited me to shoot the distillation procedure as well.

Sort of description of the lavender harvesting and distilling process: Depending on the weather, the harvest is done during or soon after the lavender’s peak bloom, usually at the end of June and throughout July. Cut lavender flowers and stems are transported to the distillery on trailers designed for the purpose. The trailer is covered in the distillery before being recessed into the floor.

The lavender stems generate a porous structure in the trailer that allows the steam to travel around while having little oil. The full five-ton trailer load of material now has a temperature of 100 degrees C. The steam activates the oil glands when the temperature reaches this point, causing the oil glands to discharge oil into the steam. The oil is now suspended in the steam as it rises through the trailer and is then sent to a condenser.

Steel tubes are arranged in the shape of a honeycomb inside the condenser. The steam/oil mixture flows through the tubes and downward. Pumping chilly rainwater between the tubes causes the steam to condense back into oil and water. Pipes carry the oil and water mixture to the separator tank. Here, the oil creates a layer on top of the water after the two liquids are given time to separate. After then, the priceless lavender oil is removed from the separator.

Let’s see the Lavender harvest in round bales – Valensole Fʀᴀɴᴄᴇ – Unique self-propelled harvester in the ᴀᴡᴇsome video below.

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Video resource: Tractorspotter

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