Vol 11 Issue 1 - Winter 2011

In A Nutshell May 2011

In this issue: Market Driver Program Launched Harvest Systems Review Asian Bee - Support for Eradication

Australian Almonds www.australianalmonds.com.au

Contents

3

CEO Update

Almond Board of Australia Inc.

P + 61 8 8582 2055 F + 61 8 8582 3503

ABN 31 709 079 099

E admin@australianalmonds.com.au W www.australianalmonds.com.au

9 William Street, PO Box 2246 Berri South Australia 5343

5

Support for campaign to eradicate Asian bee

Meeting the challenges of global food secu- rity: Implications for horticulture

Board Members Brendan Sidhu Chairman & Grower Representative - Riverland

6

7

Australian Almond Driver Program

Neale Bennett Deputy Chair & Grower Representative - Sunraysia Domenic Cavallaro Grower Representative - Adelaide Tony Spiers Grower Representative - Riverland Denis Dinicola Grower Representative - Riverina

Tim Orr Grower Representative - Sunraysia

8

Grower Profile - Geoff Ablett

Grant Birrell Marketing Representative Tim Millen Marketing Representative Brenton Woolston Marketing Representative

9

Australian Almond Conference 2011

ANIC News Phil Watters Award - Nominations Sought

10

11

In The Orchard

Circulation: With a circulation of more than 400 and readership of over 1300 the ‘In A Nutshell’ newsletter is available to the general public and interested parties via the Almond Board of Australian website www.australianalmonds.com.au, and high quality printed copies distributed to: Almond Board of Australia members, industry contacts within Australia and overseas, nut producing, distributing and marketing companies.

13

'Bee force' set up to stop dangerous threat

14

R&D Roundup - Almond Harvest Systems Review

publication does not necessarily reflect the views

In a Nutshell The Almond Board of Australia is the peak industry body representing the interest of almond growers, processors and marketers in Australia in matters of national importance including regulation, legislation, marketing research and development. In a Nutshell is published quarterly by the ABA in to bring news to all industry contacts and members. Membership The Almond Board of Australia offers membership to growers, processors, marketers and interested parties. Please contact the Almond Board of Australia for current membership fees and inclusions.

Membership - Why Become a Member?

of the Almond Board of Australia and unless otherwise specified, no products and/or services are endorsed by this organisation. Editor Jo Ireland Communications Coordinator Almond Board of Australia 9 William Street, PO Box 2246 BERRI SA 5343

As a member you have a direct say about the future of the industry and direct access to our organisation. The ABA has undertaken industry-wide consultation to develop an Industry Strategic Plan which establishes funding priorities for the industry’s R&D and marketing programs. We aim to support our rapidly increasing industry by encouraging effective communication and co-operation between industry members. The ABA aims to keep members informed through a range of activities including: • Presentation of the Annual Almond Industry Conference. • Distribution of the ABA’s quarterly newsletter “In a Nutshell” • Regular field days and regional meetings • Technical articles and ABA news in the “Australian Nutgrower” Journal • Collection and distribution of industry statistics • Access to regularly updated information via the ABA website To join the ABA please visit our website and download a membership form, or contact our office on 08 8582 2055 or email admin@australianalmonds.com.au

t +61 8 8582 2055 f +61 8 8582 3503

e jireland@australianalmonds.com.au w www.australianalmonds.com.au

Some of these projects were facilitated by HAL in partnership with the Almond Board of Australia. They were funded by the R&D levy and/or voluntary contributions from industry. The Australian Government provides matched funding for all HAL’s R&D activities.

Advertising/Editorial The Almond Board of Australia

acknowledges contributions made by private enterprise through placement of advertisements in this publication. Any advertising and/or editorial supplied to this

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2 In A Nutshell—May 2011

CEO Update

The harvest period is drawing to a conclusion. The 2011 Season will be remembered as a challenging one with the un-seasonal weather leading to a lack of uniformity of maturity and prolonged drying. Securing the smaller than expected crop has encouraged different growers to look at their harvesting systems with the goal of securing the crop, improving production efficiency and maintaining product quality. Growers have used shake and catch systems, shake and collect systems that convey the almond in hull product to drying areas for placing on the ground whilst others have looked at utilising aeration / dehydration bins and facilities. To evaluate these different harvest systems and progress them where further development work is warranted will be part of a workshop to be held in June, 2011. See article on page 14. Production is one challenge, marketing almonds with an Australian dollar well above parity is another. The industry promotion program has been active in taking Australian almonds to key markets with the major export marketers being part of a joint promotion at Gulfoods trade fair held in Dubai. The ability of the Australian marketers to support this promotional event jointly enabled a display area that commanded attention.

leading to higher sales and consumption. More information on this program is available on page 7. In the next issues of this magazine I will look at the production and processing issues being addressed by the ABA Board and staff with the following major areas being pursued: • Asian bee eradication / containment • Murray Darling Basin Plan • Quality assurance developments in conjunction with SA Rural Solutions • Bid for CRC for Pollination • Proposed Government funding cuts to rural research bodies • Flood damage - Government working groups • Industry plantings and statistics for 2010 • Budwood scheme orchard development • Weed control best practice • Prune rust control - successful practices (spray programs and equipment) • Carmel bud failure • PBR in Australia for new Spanish rootstocks and their multiplication for trials • Research projects: CT irrigation/nutrition trial, new varieties, information extension / communication • Research project development: Pollination Efficiency, Food Safety, Advanced Harvesting Systems, Rootstock Trials • The processing sector developments: Indian food safety regulations in conjunction with the Californian Almond Board, mechanical damage to kernels investigation by University of SA, chemical residue testing program and amendments to MRL’s Other ABA matters of interest are: Shannon Harkins has joined the ABA staff as Finance Manager to fill the position vacated by Bronte McCarthy, who has returned to working life in Adelaide with the Hotels Association. Thank you to everyone assisting Jennifer Wilkinson to produce the history of theAustralian Almond Industry which should be available in early 2012. The 13th Australian Almond Conference will be held 26-28 October, 2011 at the McCracken Resort at Victor Harbour. This venue will enable the industry to showcase itself and its exhibitors in an enjoyable, modern environment. Ross Skinner

Fuelling Fitness with Australian Almonds

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Australian Almonds

At the Conference, the first steps to position almonds as the ideal recovery food after exercise were undertaken. Importantly, we have linked with bananas and oranges to promote a set of exercise foods. “On game day or training day, put some almonds in your bag along with your bananas and oranges and you will have your pre-game, half-time and post-game covered”.

Australian Almonds at Gulfoods

The exhibition, attended by traders and manufacturers resulted in 226 contacts being made by our industry with many others collecting information packs. The Marketers on the way to Gulfoods also participated in a networking event held at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, India and attended by 80 people with the leading Indian buyers present. These marketing events are developed by Joseph Ebbage with the assistance of Shaya Nettle and the marketers. The next trade fair will be Hofex to be held in Hong Kong in May where 1,800 exhibitors will use this event to link with the Chinese food and beverage industry. Joseph also manages the domestic promotions and recently attended the 27th Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation International Conference in Adelaide, SA from April 18th to 20th.

TheAlmond Market Driver Programwas launched at the recent Australian Nut Industry Conference held in Sydney on March 16th and 17th. The Australian Almond Driver Program aims to grow almond sales and consumption by integrating the latest consumer and health information with a powerful calendar of promotions. This program looks to involve members of the supply chain as key partners in this growth strategy, including retailers, marketers, wholesalers and distributors. The core objectives are to grow both the penetration of almond consumption within Australian households and the frequency with which almonds are purchased. The central focus of our Australian Almond Driver Program is to increase the profile of almonds in-store

In A Nutshell—May 2011 3

Cabrio ® for Almonds. It’s about blooming time.

Cabrio ® is a new fungicide option for almond growers: •Cabrio introduces the protectant properties of pyraclostrobin •Provides a Fungicide Group 11 for resistance management rotation

•Apply at flowering and repeat 10 to 14 days later •Use only two Cabrio sprays per season as part of a full control program Protects almonds early for later nut returns. www.nufarm.com.au

® Cabrio is a registered trademark of BASF used under license by Nufarm Australia Limited

4 In A Nutshell—May 2011

upport for campaign to eradicate asian bee

The Australian almond industry was represented at a beekeeper campaign at Parliament House in Canberra recently and supports the campaign which is urgently asking the Australian Government to take action to eradicate the Asian bee (Apis cerana – Java strain), before it causes long-term impacts to Australia’s food security. The Asian bee is an exotic pest and its incursion in 2007 represents a breach of Australia’s border security. The Asian bee is an invasive species which will adversely affect the European honeybee by competing for floral resources, robbing managed hives and increases the risk of disease transmission. Of particular concern, the bee is a native host for varroa mite jacobsonii – a parasite that attacks developing European honeybee larvae or adult bees. The Asian bee is not suitable for managed pollination of crops. In 2003, the Asian bee was found in the Solomon Islands and eliminated feral colonies of European Honeybee and decimated managed hives from 2,000 hives to just 5 hives by 2008. The ABA supports the Food Security needs Bee Security campaign which is asking the Australian government to: 1. Immediately allocate $10 million over two years to eradicate the Asian bee. 2. Implement the 25 recommendations of the 2008 More than Honey report,

by allocating an additional $50 million annually to maintain healthy bee populations and secure pollination services. 3. Provide funding for the establishment and operation of the Co-operative Research Centre for Honeybee and Pollination Security. The Almond industry is currently funding Pollination Australia and the following projects: • 'Bee Force' - Developing the model for other regions • Identifying chemical or non-chemical R&D for honeybee pests workshop • Preparation and submission of permit applications for three Varroa mite control products • Protecting pollination for the Australian horticultural industry Stage 2 • Protecting pollination - Communicating awareness:Honeybee Blues video • 'Bee Force' - Improving surveillance and sentinel hive traps • Developing a honeybee and pollination CRC bid • Communications strategy for protecting pollination for the Australian horticultural industry. In 2011/12, a new research project will be funded with the CSIRO. This project will use in-orchard observations and experiments to examine the efficiency of almond pollination by bees, focusing on a few different components: 1. What is the relationship between hive

density and bee density for trees at different distance from hives? 2. What density and arrangement of hives is most likely to produce the best bee density for pollination? 3. Is there evidence (from pollination experiments) that suggests hive manipulations (such as pollen stripping or sugar feeding) are likely to improve pollination efficiency? These different elements will be integrated to assess what ultimately matters – fruit set on trees. The project will be led by one of Australia’s leading pollination biology experts, Dr Saul Cunningham of the CSIRO. He will work with a commercial pollination provider, beekeeper and researcher Danny Le Feuvre to develop practical approaches to improve pollination efficiency for almonds. For further information visit www.securefoodsavesbees.com

In A Nutshell—May 2011 5

Meeting the challenges of global food security: Implications for horticulture

The world’s population is predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050, additionally a growing middle class in developing nations will place even greater pressure on global food supply. It’s no surprise therefore, that global food security has become a red hot issue for the media and governments worldwide. In July 2009 at the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, 26 countries, including Australia, and 14 multilateral agencies endorsed The Joint Statement on Global Food Security which outlines a coordinated approach to food security. The supporting countries and agencies (among these the United Nations, World Bank and World Trade Organisation) agreed “to act with the scale and urgency needed to achieve sustainable global food security”. They acknowledged that “the food security agenda should focus on agriculture and rural development by promoting sustainable production, productivity and rural economic growth”. So what does ‘food security’ mean? According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) the following definition applies: “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” Horticulture’s Submission to the Agriculture and Food Policy Reference Group (C2005 provided a more ‘local’ definition: “Food security refers to the ability of Australians to have access to a safe and healthy food supply grown domestically.” The productivity and sustainability of food- producing industries, like horticulture, is now firmly part of the international and national agendas. In March 2010, the Minister for Agriculture, the Hon Tony Burke MP, raised the issue of global food security at the ABARE Outlook Conference, noting that food security is one of the “three biggest issues in the world” along with climate change and the global financial crisis. The CEO of theAustralian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Dr Nick Austin, also spoke

on the need for a revolution in productivity to deal with global food security. “Population growth and constraints on food production, including from the anticipated affects of climate change and shifting supply and demand patterns, must be balanced by improved agricultural yields,” Dr Austin said. “What is necessary is not one revolution in agricultural productivity, but a series of country specific responses to spark a range of mini- revolutions in productivity that leverages off intellectual capital and an understanding of the environment.” For more than 20 years Australia’s horticultural industries, along with other agricultural industries, have been investing through rural research and development corporations, such as Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), in sustainably improving their productivity. Productivity improvements in horticulture have been achieved through developments across all areas of production including improved seed and nursery stock through breeding and evaluation programs, optimising plant densities and growing systems, and management of soil, water, nutrition, pests, diseases and weeds. The almond industry has invested in many of these areas. Additionally, climate change will affect productivity across all industries and therefore will impact on food security. Some of the risks to food supply because of climate change include increased crop failure, new patterns of pests and diseases, lack of appropriate seeds and planting material, and loss of livestock. Speaking at the UN Secretary-General’s High- Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis in January 2009, Minister Burke said the global financial crisis and climate change were interrelated with food security. The Minister said “Climate change represents a significant risk to the sustainability of the world’s agricultural production… We face the challenge of improving food security, while at the same time reducing the emissions profile of agriculture.” All industries that receive R&D funding through HAL contribute to the Across Industry Program. One of the projects being completed through the program this year aims to increase industry capability and understanding of climate change

and climate variability implications and begins to identify the actions required to address these impacts. In essence it is a national strategic response to the risk of climate change and climate variability. The long-term goal is to increase the resilience of the horticulture industry to respond to climate challenges and subsequently maximise sustainable production, increase productivity and decrease the commercial risk of climate change and climate variability. The project is being implemented from March 2010 to March 2011, under the three objectives of Positioning & Planning; Research & Development; and Communication, and will result in the following outputs: • ThefinalversionoftheHorticultureClimate Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Matrix • A horticulture climate position paper, which will include a summary of commodity specific climate RDE needs and gaps • Up to 10 topic-specific grower fact sheets based on currently available information • A research-industry forum/workshop • A consumer fact sheet The Positioning & Planning component commenced in April 2010. Growcom’s Climate Change Officer, David Putland has been commissioned to develop a strong industry position on the climate research, RD&E needs of industry and increase the incorporation of climate RD&E within commodity investment plans. David’s role is to consult with industry, identify synergies/opportunities within investment plans, highlight any gaps in the Preliminary Horticulture Climate RD&E Matrix and then develop the Horticulture Climate Position Paper. The Horticulture Climate Position Paper will sit in front of the Climate Matrix as a public summary and both documents will be available for all industry members to use. David will use the Climate Matrix as a trigger for discussions with industry members regarding their commodity- specific climate RD&E needs. Australia and its horticultural industries have a vital part to play in meeting the challenge of the global food crisis. The investment in programs to increase productivity over the past 20 years and going forward will not only benefit the almond industry, it will help to meet the increasing global demand for food.

REFERENCES http://www.g8italia2009.it/static/G8_Allegato/LAquila_Joint_Statement_on_Global_Food_ Security%5B1%5D,0.pdf http://www.fao.org/spfs/spfs-home/en/

http://www.agfoodgroup.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/283969/Horticulture_Australia_ Limited.pdf p20 Climate Change and Food Security: A Framework Document, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome 2008 piii DAFF09/184B 28 January 2009 Australia to have key role in addressing global food crisis

6 In A Nutshell—May 2011

Publications for Sale

Introduction to Commercial Almond Growing in Australia

Launched at the Australian Nut Conference in March this year, the Australian Almond Driver Program is designed to grow almond sales and consumption by integrating the latest consumer and health information with a powerful calendar of promotions. This program looks to involve all members of the almond supply chain as key partners in this growth strategy, including retailers, marketers, wholesalers and distributors. Our core objectives are to grow both the penetration of almond consumption within Australian households and the frequency with which almonds are purchased. Valuable information from the Nielsen Homescan research reports is available to participants, which will help us measure consumer behavior as well as the latest products launched around the world in our Datamonitor updates. We know that health is a key driver of consumption so we will also be sharing the latest research studies that highlight the role of almonds in lowering cholesterol, helping prevent heart disease and assisting with diabetes. The central focus of our Australian Almond Driver Program is to increase the profile of almonds in- store leading to higher sales and consumption. To this end, we have created a seasonal calendar of promotions: • The ‘New Year, New Heart’ promotion in January-February – devoted to the great heart health benefits of eating a handful of almonds everyday; • The ‘New Season’ promotion in March & April – communicating the great taste of Australian almonds fresh from the trees; • The ‘Almond Blossom Season’ promotion in August – highlighting the natural goodness of almonds; • The ‘Celebrate Christmas’ promotion in November & December – celebrating the wonderful meals and treats almonds help create. Each of these major seasonal promotions have their own advertising and point of sale material, supported by dedicated PR activities - which can be ordered from within the Almond Driver Program pages of the ABA Website. If you would like to become an 'Australian Almond Driver' please contact Jo Ireland at the ABA office at jireland@australianalmonds.com.au

A basic introduction to Almond varieties, cultural practices, growing and soil requirements.

Economics of Almond Production

This report analyses the financial performance of a range of six South Australian almond properties, establishing comparative information and developing benchmarks for economic performance.

Almond Production Manual

Provides information on all stages of almond production, from planting and developing new orchards to managing bearing orchards and harvesting and handling crops. Written by more than 50 UC experts, the manuals' information is practical and suited to field application. More than 80 colour photos. Almond Pest and Disease Spray Guide The industry’s official pest & disease guide facilitated by HAL (Horticulture Australia Limited) in partnership with the ABA. This Guide provides information on almond pests and diseases that can be managed and monitored by orchard managers. Integrated Pest Management for Almonds Covering 120 different pest problems including diseases, insects and mites, nematodes, vertebrate pests, and weeds. You’ll also find expanded chapters on vertebrate pest management and vegetation management including recommendations for control techniques where endangered species occur and detailed information on cover crops. You’ll also find revised sections on navel orangeworm and peach twig borer along with revised and updated tables on susceptibility of rootstocks and scion cultivars to major pests. Illustrated with 259 photos, 69 line drawings and tables, and a detailed index.

**These publications are available for purchase from www.australianalmonds.com.au

In A Nutshell—May 2011 7

G rower

E mployment history in the almond industry : Employed by Century Orchards since it's establishment in 1998. H ow do you see the almond industry changing over the next 10 to 20 years ? I hope the industry continues to grow and challenge itself to do things better as it has done over the last 10 to 15 years. W hat do you see as the almond industry ' s biggest asset ? The way growers communicate and share information. I f you weren ' t involved with the almond industry , what do you think you ' d like to do ? I don't know, I am sort of used to being around nuts!!! I f you were to invite three people to dinner ( fictional , dead or alive ) to brainstorm the future of the A ustralian almond industry , who would you invite and why ? John Wayne, Roger Moore and Walt Disney. The Duke would just ride in with guns blazing and fix any problems. Roger would ensure this was done in a suave and sophisticated manner and with Walt we would be sure of a happy ending! W hy is it important to you to be a member of the ABA? We all need to be part of the bigger picture. As a grower it is important to remember the industry is more than just our own farm. P rofile Geoff Ablett Managing Director, Century Orchards

F avourite Q uote : Only worry about the things you can change. E ducation /T raining : Advanced Diploma of Horticulture. Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. O rchard / s : Century Orchards, Loxton SA V arieties G rown : Nonpareil, Carmel, Peerless, Price and Monterey.

Just for Fun

I should have ..... Listened to my mother. Why, what did she say? I don't know I didn't listen! I wish that I could .....

Take my wife on a world cruise (Just in case she reads this....) T he first thing I do when I get to work is ..... Say G'day to the team or at the moment empty the mouse traps!!!

8 In A Nutshell—May 2011

13th Australian Almond conference 26 - 28 OCTOBER 2011 Unlocking The Future

McCracken Country Club - Victor Harbor, South Australia

The Almond Board of Australia is pleased to present the 13th Annual Australian Almond Conference, from 26th to 28th October 2011 in Victor Harbor, South Australia. This conference is the largest gathering of Australian almond industry representatives, and brings together over 200 Australian and international delegates. Participants encompass the entire supply chain, from growers to processors, marketers, researchers, industry suppliers and researchers. The Conference will be focussed on providing up-to-date information about the current state of the Australian almond industry and highlighting its commercial and marketing strengths.

• An engaging and informative program with two days of presentations and including many networking opportunities. • Topics including consumer and retail trends, outlook forAustralian and global almond production, latest research, promotion and marketing programs and more. • Delegates representing all aspects of domestic and international nut trade. To keep updated with the Australian almond conference programs, registrations and other activities please visit our website and follow the links. • Trade show displaying latest products and services.

Conference highlights will include:

• A fabulous and unique opportunity to connect with business and industry contacts in a relaxed professional environment.

See you at the Australian Almond Conference ‘Unlocking the Future’ in Victor Harbor, 26-28 October 2011!

Sponsorship & Exhibition Prospectus Now Available! call Jo Ireland for more information PO Box 2246 BERRI SA 5343

P + 61 8 8582 2055 F + 61 8 8582 3503 E jireland@australianalmonds.com.au

Phil Watters Memorial Award Nominations Sought for 2011 Award

N ews

Selection Criteria

• Excellence and/or Innovation

At its Board meeting in January this year the Australian Nut Industry Council appointed Chaseley Ross to the position of Executive Officer. Her primary role is to support the ongoing development of the Australian nut industry, managing critical industry issues and leading and managing the affairs of the Australian Nut Industry Council. Her position will also incorporate the Secretariat and administrative management function that the Almond Board of Australia has been providing to the Australian Nut Industry Council. Ms Ross has been involved with the agriculture industry for 15 years and hails from the rich black soils of the Darling Downs, where her family is involved in broadacre irrigation cropping. She possesses an Agricultural Economics degree from the University of Qld, and is a qualified Environmental Systems auditor. Ms Ross has spent the majority of her career working for Cotton Australia, the peak industry body for cotton growers in Australia. After starting out at the coal face delivering Best Management Practices (BMP) to growers, she moved into a policy role, and spent five years as the QLD Policy Advisor, then taking on the BMP Program Management role. BMP is the industry’s commitment to improved production and environmental management. Cotton Australia was responsible for the implementation of BMP to growers, and required strategic alignment from all organisations involved in the industry. It remains the only agricultural program recognised by a Government as an alternative pathway to a statutory planning instrument (Land and Water Management Plans in QLD). Following her roles with Cotton Australia, Ms Ross spent 12 months with a specialist environmental, agricultural and science firm based on the Gold Coast with an aim to take the specialised technical skills of the organisation into the agricultural and natural resource management sector. Ross Skinner (ABA CEO) has also recently been appointed to the ANIC Board of Directors, taking on the role of Treasurer, previously held by Julie Haslett.

• Adoption of best practice, or dedication to the improvement of almond production

• Positive influence on colleagues

• Community involvement in promoting horticulture to the wider community. Eligibility Any work, project, program or extension must have been undertaken or implemented between July 2007 and June 2009. Nominees must have been working in their current position for at least 24 months. Awards The award to the successful individual winner of the Phil Watters Memorial Award will be decided by the Selection Panel and may vary from one ceremony to another. Examples of awards include an all expenses paid trip, domestically or abroad, to the value of $10,000 AUD to:

The Phil Watters memorial award is open to any individual within the almond industry who contributes to almond production through either research and development, adoption of best practice and/or promotion of horticulture to the community. Nominations are invited from people working in either the private sector or public sector. This includes (but is not limited to) owner-operated farms, corporate farms, private consultancy groups and government research institutions. Nominations can be submitted by, or on behalf of, an individual and must focus on the contributions of that specific person. Nominees must be based in Australia, or their contributions originate from an Australian origin.

• A related or relevant conference

• A workshop or short course

• A host almond orchard

• A host researcher and/or research institution

Applying & Donating Please contact the ABA Office or visit : www.australianalmonds.com.au Mail completed nominations, or donations marked Confidential to:

Phil Watters Memorial Award c/- Almond Board of Australia PO Box 2246 BERRI SA 5343

Nominations must be received by Friday, 2 nd September 2011

10 In A Nutshell—May 2011

In The Orchard The variable weather conditions are continuing throughout most of the almond growing areas, with the unseasonal rainfall events providing the most difficulty this season. by Brett Rosenzweig

With all growers switching their attention to harvest, the following checklist will provide some helpful reminders and assistance over the coming months: • Keep up to date with weather forecasts. Last edition I mentioned to keep an eye on the weather forecasts for impending heatwaves and to adjust irrigation schedules accordingly; particularly, as orchards are commonly drier through harvest. The same still applies, but during harvest, consideration must also be given to rainfall events, regardless of their predicted amount. Even small rainfall events at this time of the season are contributing to difficulties such as morning dews and shortened harvesting hours. The weather site links are: http://reg.bom.gov.au/products/reg/access/ http://www.australianweathernews.com/forecast_OCF.htm http://www.bom.gov.au/watl/ • Check storage pads and bunkers. The heavy rainfall events and localised flooding during summer should prompt a rethink on location of storage pads and bunkers and whether they are effectively protected from sudden downpours and flooding. Did your storage pad or bunker have free-standing water after the recent rainfall events? Did runoff water move from another part of the property through the pad or bunker? Do you have adequate tarps etc to cover the stockpiles if we have a continued wet harvest? Stockpiles are best located in a north – south orientation with no troughs for water to accumulate in. Moisture content of the fruit must be measured before shaking, or before pick-up and stockpiling following rain interruptions. Research has indicated the incidence of mould growth and food safety risks increase dramatically when fruit is stored with kernel moisture of greater than 6%. Refer to Fact Sheet 10. • Soil Salinity and pH. Even though rainfall has been above average so far this season, it will still be advantageous to take soil samples for salinity and pH analysis. Samples should be taken from approximately 30, 60 and 90 cm or at closer intervals if your soil depth is shallower than 1m. The season’s rainfall would have had some positive leaching effects, so specifically target known salinity hotspots from previous years or known drainage areas where water tables may have risen and consequently brought salt into or close to the rootzone. The same principle applies for drip irrigated orchards, however sample at 20cm from the dripper (within the wetted area of the dripper) and 60cm from the dripper (the edge of the wetted area of the dripper). High salinity levels 60cm from the dripper could lead to uptake of salt by the tree after light rainfall events as the salt is pushed back into the rootzone. pH should also be tested in addition to salinity, particularly in drip irrigated orchards and those orchards with high fertiliser inputs. Refer to Fact Sheet 09. http://wxmaps.org/pix/aus.vv.html http://wxmaps.org/pix/prec7.html http://www.eldersweather.com.au/ http://www.weatherzone.com.au/sa/murray/renmark

• Post Harvest Nutrition. The ideal weather conditions in spring and summer have contributed to good extension and spur growth, bud numbers, and potentially high flower numbers and small kernel size for next season. This is of particular relevance to Nonpareil, where this has been exacerbated by a generally lighter crop this season. It is therefore important to maintain good tree and bud health, during and after harvest. Many orchards reduced their spring fertiliser applications as a result of the lighter crops and mild weather conditions, and particular attention will now need to be given to timely applications of post harvest fertiliser. Harvest is later than last season, so it may be necessary to start post harvest fertiliser applications earlier to ensure adequate uptake. Applications following harvest should ensure there is still enough potential for fertiliser uptake. • It is important to take into account the amount of foliage remaining on the tree after harvest. If there isn’t enough foliage remaining on the tree (due to the lateness of the season, rust etc), care should be taken to avoid unnecessary “reshooting” of trees if the application rates of fertilizer are too high. Applications of fertilizer when trees have very little uptake or are nearly dormant, can result in the fertilizer sitting in the soil, not readily being taken up by the tree and prone to leaching beyond the rootzone during winter. If the soil temperature is below 18 o C, it would be more worthwhile applying ammonium nitrate, rather than Urea or UAN as Urea doesn’t readily or quickly break down when soil temperatures are below 18 o C. • It may also be worth considering the application of “bud building” sprays using Lo-Bi Urea and other micro nutrients (e.g. Boron and Zinc). Rates for “Bud building” sprays of Lo-Bi Urea are usually 1% or 10kg/1000L. Refer to Fact Sheet 02. • Disease pressure. This season has seen conditions suitable for the development of rust, especially late in summer, when control options have been limited due to withholding periods before harvest. It is crucial to have good defoliation this winter to stop the carryover of the rust spores into next season. Remember, the primary cause for rust carrying over to next season is the rust spores overwintering on any leaves remaining on the tree. Even if the tree is mostly defoliated from rust, weather conditions etc, it is still critical to apply a defoliation spray to remove ALL the leaves. Most commonly used is a 7% Urea defoliation spray but Zinc Sulphate can also be used. • If you don’t already, it may be worthwhile applying a dormant copper spray following defoliation. With higher than normal disease pressures experienced this season, a copper spray during dormancy may help fungal disease management for the following season.

For further information contact: Brett Rosenzweig Industry Development Officer Almond Board of Australia P 08 8582 2055 or 0429 837 137 E: brosenzweig@australianalmonds.com.au

In A Nutshell—November 2010 11

'Bee force' set up to stop dangerous threat By:Matthew da Silva | May-5-2011

A devastating mite infestation threatens to wipe out honeybee colonies, but a stealth force is at work to combat it.

HIDDEN AWAY ON THE rooftops of some restaurants and buildings dotted around Mel- bourne a stealth force is at work. Its aim: preventing a devastating invasive mite from wiping out honeybee colonies across Australia, as it has done in New Zealand and other countries around the world. The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) has a major role in Australia's food sup- ply chain, important not just for its honey production, but for its pollination of our many crops. Now, some 500,000 managed hives and millions of the bees living out of wild hives are threatened by the tiny varroa mite, against which they have no natural defence. Varroa lives off the fluids it sucks out of the bees, laying its eggs on the brood and carrying diseases that infect its hosts, making them susceptible to more infections. Without help from humans, the hives will collapse. Australia is the only country still free of varroa, but this protected status under threat from possible incursions, as the mite can be carried by foreign Asiatic honey bees (apis cerana), which are finding their way here. "It's gone right around the globe and it's everywhere," says Joe Riordan from the Victo- rian Department of Primary Industries (DPI). "It's probably a matter of when - one day it's going to happen." Invasion

Mat Lumalasi tends to the honey beehive on top of the La Luna restaurant building. (Credit: Rooftop Honey))

The Asiatic honey bee arrived in Australia in 2007 in a swarm nestled inside a boat mast, and while there is no evidence the swarm carried varroa, authorities remain alert. In New Zealand, varroa arrived in 2000 along with a swarm of Apis mellifera via a shipment to the port of Auckland, and has since spread through both islands. "For every managed beehive there was a feral beehive, or a wild hive," says John Hartnell, chair of the Bee Industry Group at Federated Farmers of New Zealand. "When varroa came along, it killed all the wild and feral hives. So the bee population basically halved." "It placed far more reliance on the need of managed bee colonies to be brought in to do pollination work," he says. "The cost of treating a hive annually for varroa - and you have to do it every year, you can't not do it otherwise you lose your hives - is approximately $50 per hive." And it's not just fruit such as apples and peaches, and nuts like almonds, which will be affected when varroa arrives in Australia. Vegetables also rely on pollination services provided by feral bees, as well as broadacre crops like canola, faba beans and legumes. Then there's clover, which feeds beef cattle.

"Probably two-thirds of our food is directly related to bees," says Gerald Martin, chair of the Research Advisory Committee for the pollination program at the federal government's Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC). Bee Force The RIRDC is now working with the Victorian DPI to ensure authorities find the varroa as soon as it arrives. They have established Bee Force, a group of 10 volunteer beekeepers around Melbourne who have each been given the task of monitoring a sentinel hive designed to catch evidence of varroa, as invading feral bees of- ten try to occupy existing hives. Gerald says that Bee Force is "making one hell of a contribution to our entire food industry". Vanessa Kwiatkowski and Mat Lumalasi at Rooftop Honey, which has been operating since November last year, decided to volunteer with Bee Force. They recently received their sentinel hive from the DPI which they installed at the Alto Hotel in Melbourne's CBD. Each sentinel hive has a built-in drawer at the bottom which is covered by mesh to stop bees falling through. The beekeeper looking after the hive places a sticky mat in the drawer every six weeks and removes it after a couple of days. The mat is then sent to the DPI's lab to check for pests. Sweet restaurants Rooftop Honey runs about 20 hives in and around the city at locations such as the restaurants Trunk in Exhibi- tion Street, Ladro in Prahran and Fitzroy, and La Luna in Carlton. They're happy to be involved in the work of Bee Force. "We actually feel privileged to be involved," says Mat. "We're really quite chuffed. It's so cool to be on the front line of early detection and doing what we can to look out for the bees." When he heard that authorities were looking for volunteers, Lyndon Fenlon also put his name down for Bee Force. Lyndon has been keeping bees for a number of years and now operates almost 30 hives in Melbourne's

Beekeeper Lyndon Fenlon rides his tricy- cle en route from his Yarraville hives to his Seddon and Footscray hives. Port fa- cilities such as those shown in the back- ground are considered likely points of entry for the Asiatic honey bee, which can carry the varroa mite authorities fear will damage Australia’s agriculture. (Credit: Tahnia Trussler)

suburbs. He says he's "honoured" and "extremely proud" to be involved. "I feel it's the least that I can do," he says. "When you're into bees you're into everything else that goes with it. It's not just bees that you get into; you learn about [the] environment, the food chain, everything else. It's a delicate balance. Considering how many threats there are out there in the world, we've got off pretty lightly in Australia." Most people who are into bees and beekeeping would like it to stay that way, he says. "When I'm talking to the small beekeepers they love the concept and they want to help," says Gerald. If the program is seen to be effective it may be rolled out to other areas of Australia, says the DPI's Joe.

In A Nutshell—November 2010 13

R & D Roundup by Ben Brown Almond Harvest Systems Review

Spoilage of a significant tonnage of almonds has been the industry experience in the 2010 and 2011 harvests with rain events delaying the end of the season and promoting mould growth and other quality issues. The value of lost and spoiled product is valued in the tens of millions of dollars. With this experience fresh in our memories and with the Australian almond industry production set to double by 2015, it is widely recognised three issues are of particular importance to research in the near future. These being: 1. Efficiency of current harvesting techniques. 2. Handling logistics, such as storage/ aeration/dehydration. 3. Negative impacts on product quality, food safety and market access. The three are inter-related as the Australian almond industry is predominantly planted to Californian varieties which, whilst widely accepted in the market place, are vulnerable to

quality defects (e.g. chips, scratches and insects) and food safety concerns arising from their soft shell, lack of shell seal and ground harvesting techniques. Furthermore, the industry believes there may be opportunities to improve efficiency and productivity of the harvest and logistics process with either improvements to current equipment or possibly the development of new equipment. Many horticultural industries have previously benefited from the introduction of advanced mechanised production systems and controlled, post harvest handling. Whilst almonds are considered quite mechanised, the Australian industry believes further opportunities exist to deliver increased cost efficiency, yield maximisation and enhanced product quality. To address these objectives the following areas are being investigated: 1. Advanced harvest systems:

3. Storage review:

• Aeration/dehydration 4. Primary and secondary processing review

Several R&D proposals have been developed with their objectives aligning themselves to the following five strategies of the Almond Industry R&D Strategic Plan 2011-16: • Strategy 2.1 – Establish practices to enhance product quality throughout the value chain. • Strategy 2.2 – Promote food safety practices from production through to consumption. • Strategy 2.3 – Develop and enhance product differentiation. • Strategy 3.1 – Improved productivity and competitiveness across the value chain. • Strategy 3.3 – Support sustainable almond production.

• One pass, collect and retrieve • One pass, shake, and catch

2. Infield de-hulling

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Opportunities The opportunities from improving production systems are varied depending on which methods are developed and adopted. One pass, collect and retrieve The one pass, collect and retrieve system would largely reduce food safety risks, reduce time and labour, and increase productivity and other general efficiencies. One pass, shake and catch The one pass, shake, collect and retrieve system is a more ambitious undertaking and would have additional opportunities: • Improved soil management through less grading and traffic. • Improved soil management through increases in the use of organic matter, cover crops, and other soil amendments. • Potentially less requirement for herbicides. • Facilitate higher density plantings. • Reduced environmental concerns surrounding dust and other contaminants. • Allow pruning and mulching to occur within the orchard, without the need to rake and burn. • Allow higher risk product from wind falls to be collected with a separate pass and treated separately. • Allow drip line to be placed on the soil surface and away from root intrusion. • Increase the ability to manage mounded orchards. • Purposefully begin harvest earlier and widen the harvest “window”. Infield de-hulling Infield de-hulling would enable greater efficiencies in: • Transport - the whole almond fruit has a low bulk density of approximately 260kg/ m 3 , with the hull accounting for greater than 60% of the total fruit weight. • Water and nutrient - retain the hull in the Like to know more? For further information refer to the section on aeration managem nt a d design n page 31.

avoiding the build up of moulds or insects in high moisture environments. Aeration can be either used to cool stored product with low flow rate air movement or used to dry product and remove moisture using high flow rate air movement and/ or heated air drying. Pressure will continue to increase on on-farm storage and the capacity of the industry’s primary and secondary processing facilities. Opportunities exist in almonds to apply the same principles as the grains industry and better manage moisture from rain events or green fruit from beginning harvest earlier and lengthening the harvest “window”. Primary and secondary processing review It is industry’s aim to review the processing chain and develop processes to minimise kernel damage, maximise out-turns, increase throughput, maximise efficiency, and ultimately aid the profitability of the industry. Opportunities may exist in the design of hulling and shelling equipment, types of sorting equipment, order of the sorting equipment, or amount of sorting equipment required.

Flory V60 Series, one pass sweeper

What’s Industry Doing? In order to more accurately scope the opportunities in the areas mentioned above, three processes have been developed: University of South Australia Associate Professor John Fielke and Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering students from the University of South Australia have begun undertaking preliminary investigation into three topics: 1. Harvest innovations 2. Almond storage, aeration and drying 3. Almond damage and defect sorting John has vast experience working with grain, dried fruit and seed industries looking at processes and equipment used in both on farm and processing facilities. It is envisaged these projects will identify and measure areas for improvement as a basis for developing innovative solutions. Some of the R&D opportunities will be industry funded while others will provide private benefits and be funded with voluntary contributions. Study Tour A study tour has been planned and will include a review of existing mechanical harvesting and logistics equipment for almonds and other tree crops. Discussions and/or visits will be held with equipment manufacturers in California, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, as well as growers who utilise the various types of equipment. Workshop andR&DProject Development A workshop will be held to present the information gathered on the study tour and preliminary findings of the University of South Australia projects, together with ideas of those in the industry already investigating or trialling advances in the production system. The workshop will identify the best bet systems and technologies to further develop in Stage 2 of the program. With consistent pressures on profitability and with the oncoming increase in production, the next five years will provide many challenges but should also provide opportunity to develop and implement advances in production systems for the Australian almond industry. It is hoped this review of harvest methods and equipment will be a significant step towards achieving the industry’s Strategic Vision of being a profitable industry, leading in the efficient production, processing and marketing of quality almonds to secure the position of preferred supplier.

Aeration cooling is also useful after drying to allow thorough cooling and to ‘breathe off’ any ad itional moisture mobilised in the dryi g p ocess. Over several weeks aerat on cooling can remove marginal amounts of moisture from a grain mass if the weather conditions are appropriate, the aeration system is well designed and the process is thoroughly managed. Although moisture can be equalised and sometimes removed from grain, aeration does not offer a rapid method to dry grain.

Two aeration kits have been fitted to this silo for more rapid aeration cooling.

Examples of maintenance and cooling aeration Aeration systems vary greatly but their performance is directly related to airflo . Greater airflow will affect temperature quicker, allow higher moisture grain to be stored for longer and offer more moisture movement potential.

The CBH Group bulkhead aeration Figure 8.5 – Bulkhead aeration

orchard as mulch. The hull can account for the removal of over 100kg/ha of nitrogen and 200kg/ha of potassium from the orchard each harvest.

Aeration/dehydration Controlled post harvest systems are utilised to maximise product yield and quality by better managing risk of crop loss and product deterioration by eliminating the vagaries of nature. Aeration for the grain industry was developed over 20 years ago and has been successfully used in the grain industry to maintain product quality in storage for longer by

Threats The threats to the development of such improvements in mechanisation are largely associated with horticultural or financial aspects, rather than engineering limitations or practical implementation. For example: • Affordability of equipment. • Inability to find a manufacturing partner. • Market dynamics, e.g. size of market and adoption rate of new engineering ventures. • Current almond varieties have some limitations, particularly under current management practices, e.g. uneven ripening, windfalls, lack of kernel protection from a poor shell seal, etc. These systems deliver betw en 0.8–1L/s/t f airflow. The use of the fans u der suction results in sightly less airflow in these systems, but the negative pressure inlet has the advantage of revealing exactly how much air is passing through the grain mass. Thermocouples are placed across the grain mass to track the cooling front’s progress from one side to the other. This aeration design relies strongly on adequate sealing of the storage and may not be practical in most on-farm storage facilities. Poor sealing results in air leaking into the system outside the designed ducting and does not allow correct airflow distribution. CBH bulkhead aeration system during filling. Note the duct ng down either side of the storage. The CBH Group bulkhead system is a relatively new aeration design. As the bulkhead grain storage is under tarpaulins and sealed for fumigation it is not possible t use a positive pressure sys em for aeration. The CBH Group bulkhead system involves the use of egative pressur centrifugal fans w ich raw air from one side of the bulkhead to the other. A set of inlet ducting on one side allows air into the grain mass while ducting on the other side is attached to suction fans which draw the air through the grain. Example bulkhead aeration used in grains (source: CBH Group)

22 The WA Guide to High Moisture Harvest Management, Grain Storage and Handling

Over-the-row, continuous harvester developed in Spain

In A Nutshell—May 2011 15

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