Pyrethrum Harvesting
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Patrick Tonui
Posted on: August 14, 2004

What is the current status of the mechanical harvesters for pyrethrum? And would they work well with the varieties grown in Kenya. And who are the manufacturers of the equipment?

To my knowledge there are only three flowerhead harvesting prototypes now existing, but they do not work for harvesting pyrethrum flowerheads. The most common one used is that which was constructed in Australia and then sold to a Canadian firm.

I have a grant proposal for a more diversified harvest of flowerheads, to include pyrethrum, but was never submitted to USDA. That project might be built upon and extended according to current needs for technology. I would be willing to negotiate some of my time and energy toward that project, if feasible for your needs.

German chamomile markets dictate flowerhead harvesting technology. If you can do chamomile mechanically, then the other crops are a snap. The non-workable prototypes use hop flower removal technologies that are inappropriate for pyrethrum flowerhead removal.

My technology requires an optical sensor to slide a cutting knife forward at each stem. The chamomile market (and pyrethrum, to a lesser extent) requires the stems to be completely removed.

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