Vol 15 Issue 2 - Spring 2015
In A Nutshell
www.australianalmonds.com.au Australian Almonds
Pamper Today. reap Tomorrow.
Haifa multi-K Potassium nitrate products for healthy crops
optimise your crops with multi-K potassium nitrate Treat your crops with Multi-K cutting-edge products to improve tomorrow’s harvests. Multi-K potassium nitrate fertilisers help you to enhance quality, boost yields and reduce labour costs. Haifa’s potassium nitrate is 100% used by plants, with no residual remaining in soils. Our world renowned, fully water soluble fertilisers include: • Crystalline Multi-K plain or enriched for Nutrigation • Haifa-Bonus npK for foliar application • Multi-K Prills for soil application
For FurTHer inFormATion, conTAcT your HAiFA TeAm Trevor Dennis , Managing Director E: email@example.com m: 0400 119 852
Shaul Gilan , Senior Agronomist E: firstname.lastname@example.org
m: 0419 675 503
Peter Anderson, Qld Sales Agronomist E: email@example.com
m: 0459 488 850
Jon corona, Regional Agronomist, Mildura E: firstname.lastname@example.org
m: 0408 568 605
Jason Teng , Customer Service/Logistics E: email@example.com
Pioneering the Future
m: 0488 036 528
Tel: 03 9583 4691
Almond Board of Australia Inc. ABN 31 709 079 099 9 William Street, PO Box 2246 Berri South Australia 5343
10 In the Orchard
+ 61 8 8582 2055
firstname.lastname@example.org W www.australianalmonds.com.au
12 High Health Almond Budwood
13 SA to host National Almond Centre of Excellence
Follow us on...
14 Almonds Blossoming
15 Does size matter when it comes to identifying Carob Moth?
17 INC releases 2nd World Nuts and Dried Fruits Trade Flows map highlighting trends and opportunities in nut production and consumption
19 Vale John Bird
19 Haifa hosts Californian researcher to help fill nut tree education gap 20 Feature Recipe Almond Coconut and Cranberry Chocolate Bark
Neale Bennett - Chairman & Grower Representative - Sunraysia Damien Houlahan - Deputy Chair & Marketing Representative Domenic Cavallaro - Grower Representative - Adelaide Peter Cavallaro - Grower Representative - Riverland Brendan Sidhu - Grower Representative - Riverland Denis Dinicola - Grower Representative - Riverina Tim Orr - Grower Representative - Sunraysia Grant Birrell - Marketing Representative
ABA Membership Why Become a Member? 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 the ABA staff, under the direction of the Board of Directors, is implementing. The funding priorities for the industry’s R&D projects are the gaps in knowledge and technology required to implement the Plan. The ABA market development program is building recognition of brand Australia almonds which supports the successful selling of the expanding supply on domestic and fifty export markets. 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: • Personal response to member’s queries • Regional meetings • Regular field days and annual research forum • Presentation of the Annual Almond Industry Conference • Distribution of the ABA’s quarterly newsletter “In a Nutshell” • 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 Join the ABA by visiting our website to download a membership form, phoning 08 8582 2055 or emailing email@example.com
Laurence Van Driel - Marketing Representative Brenton Woolston - Marketing Representative
Circulation: With a circulation of more than 700 and readership in excess of 2500 the ‘In A Nutshell’ newsletter is available to the general public and interested parties via email subscription the Almond Board of Australia website www.australianalmonds.com.au and distributed to: Almond Board of Australia members, industry contacts within Australia and overseas, nut producing, distributing and marketing companies.
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 to bring news to all industry contacts and members. Advertising/Editorial The Almond Board of Australia (ABA) acknowledges contributions made by private enterprise through placement of advertisements in this publication. Any advertising and/or editorial supplied to this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the ABA and unless otherwise specified, no products and/or services are endorsed by this organisation.
Publisher Almond Board of Australia 9 William Street, PO Box 2246 BERRI SA 5343 t +61 8 8582 2055 e firstname.lastname@example.org w www.australianalmonds.com.au Editor Jo Pippos, Communications Manager email@example.com Australia Ltd (HIA) 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 HIA’s R&D activities. Some of these projects were facilitated by Horticulture Innovation
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Neale Bennett, Chairman & Ross Skinner , CEO A lmonds have been Australia’s most valuable horticultural export crop for the past few years and in 2015 will earn Australia in excess of $700 million in export revenue with further sales being stifled by a shortage of supply. With more Australian almond orchards reaching full production and orchard plantings set to expand substantially, the almond industry is providing much needed economic stimulus to the horticulture reliant River Murray communities recovering from the impacts of the drought and suffering low returns for crops such as wine grapes. Investment in the planting of new orchards in the next few years will inject between three to four billion dollars into the region. This additional investment by almond producers and processors will add to the recent capital expenditure of close to $100 million on building and upgrading processing and packing facilities. The volume of almonds sold on the domestic market has increased 41% in the past five years due mainly to growing consumer awareness of the health benefits of eating almonds in terms of the prevention of cardiac disease, diabetes, obesity. Further research is to be undertaken in Australia to confirm work done overseas on the benefits to cognitive recognition in dementia sufferers. The past few years has seen an incredible growth in the sales of almond milk due in part to meeting the dietary needs of lactose intolerant people. Almond milk has surpassed soy as the most popular plant based milk and in the US sales have surpassed that of low fat dairy milk. In Australia, new almond milk products made up seven of the 212 manufactured food items with almonds as an ingredient that made their way onto supermarket shelves in Australia for the first time during the 12 months from March 2014 to February 2015, thereby helping support jobs in the manufacturing sector. In addition, many jobs are being created in the agricultural supplies, transport and service sectors in the production regions and the wider economy.
GVP that represents about 11% of all
horticulture, has again entered a boom phase with around three million trees to be planted in the next few years. With such a long term investment in developing orchards that will produce for 30 to 35 years the ABA is urging growers to ensure they are using the best available almond buds in their trees sourced from the industry’s virus tested motherplantings. The
$50 per acre investment in the best material will reap rewards for many many years. For more information see the article on page 12. Having made significant strides towards implementing the current almond industry strategic plan over the past five years the ABA will soon be developing the way forward for the period 2015 to 2020. Many industries have good strategies to take them forward but lack the resources or industry co-operation to implement them. With the Australian almond industry enjoying a period of high returns and our united structure we are well placed to grow demand, improve cropping efficiency, address production and marketing risks, and build on our strengths. The ABA will continue to focus on providing a good operating environment for our industry’s participants. The input of many producers and that of those involved in the processing and marketing sectors of the almond industry, means there are mechanisms to ensure the industry R&D levy and the ABA’s resources are
A recent economic study by the University of California Agricultural Issues Centre, concluded that for every million dollars of farm revenue generated by almond producers, nine full time equivalent jobs were supported. Applying this ratio to Australia, with a farmgate GVP of $925 million, the almond industry in 2015 will directly and indirectly support over 8,000 jobs.
directed in a prioritized manner to best assist the industry to continue to develop in the future. The Board looks forward to the input of all industry stakeholders into the Strategic Plan and the support of all in implementing it over the next five years. This will see
the industry continue to grow and deliver for the communities we live in.
The almond industry, already a major industry in Australian horticulture and with a farmgate
Joseph Ebbage Market Development Program Manager Export Marketing Program
Sial China Sial China is a annual exhibition held in Shanghai. It ran from May 6 to 8, 2015. The Australian Almond industry exhibited within the Australian Pavilion which was very well organised by FoodSA under the ‘Australia Unlimited’ banner. Toby Smith from Olam Orchards Australia, Laurence Van Driel from Select Harvests and Joseph Ebbage from the ABA participated in our promotion. The proposed Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China has the potential to offer our industry significant opportunities over the next three to five years. China is a strategically important emerging market for the Australian almond industry.
Food & Hotel Indonesia Food and Hotel Indonesia (FHI) is a biennial exhibition held in Jakarta. The Australian almond industry exhibited at FHI 2015 which ran from April 15 to 18. Astit Badrawanti from Select Harvests and Joseph Ebbage from the ABA met with a range of importers, supermarket retailers and distributors to work through the issues of building our Australian almond business in Indonesia.
While Indonesia is a relatively small market for almonds, the size of its growing middle class points to a significant volume growth opportunity over the medium term. We received valuable support from the Australian Trade Commission and the Victorian Commissioner for Indonesia in generating meetings with potential customers.
Australian Almond stand at Food & Hotel Indonesia
Australian Almond stand at Sial, China
New Australian Almond ‘Infographic’ Flyer
Domestic Marketing Program We have had a busy quarter in our Educating Health Professionals program with Australian almonds exhibiting at three major health conferences: the Fitness Expo in Melbourne from April 10 to 12; the Dietitians Association of Australia Annual Conference in Perth from May 14 to 16 and the Australian Diabetes Educators Annual conference in Adelaide from August 26 to 28. Each of these conferences attracted between 1500 and 2000 delegates. We distributed over 5,000 filled almond snack tins and a similar number of our new Australian Almond health brochures. More than a thousand fitness trainers, dietitians and diabetes educators have requested our follow-up Education Packs that include nutrition fact sheets and a dozen filled snack tins to give to their clients and patients. One of the features of this series of health conferences has been the addition of our new ‘fitness-oriented’ silver snack tin. It has been specifically designed to appeal to men as a way of complementing the more feminine red heart-shaped tin that is always popular. Consumer Marketing Over the April to June period, we launched our new promotional theme: “The New Sunday Roast”. This theme which will feature in our advertising programs over the next 12 months is aimed to promote the great taste and health benefits of freshly roasted almonds. We know from the Nielsen Homescan reports that whilst over 80% of Australians buy some nuts every year, approximately 45% of households buy some almonds. There is a significant opportunity to convert some of the households who buy nuts but not almonds. We know from the response we receive at conferences and exhibitions that freshly roasted almonds provide a taste sensation that most consumers do not normally associate with almonds. During the last quarter we ran our advertising creative supported by advertorials in a range of major magazines including Womens Weekly, Womens Day, Recipes Plus and Womens Fitness. In June and August, we promoted our Freshly Roasted almond message and our key nutrition benefits at the Melbourne and Sydney Good Food Shows. These are two of the largest ‘foodie’ exhibitions in Australia. The Melbourne Good Food Show ran from June 5 to 8 and the Sydney Good Food Show ran from August 7 to 9. Over these two exhibitions we sampled freshly roasted almonds and distributed our filled almond snack tins to more than 4000 people who joined our facebook community.
Right: New ‘fitness’ silver snack tin.
Below: 2015 Health Brochure
Left: ‘The New Sunday Roast’ promotional poster
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In the Orchard
Brett Rosenzweig, Industry Development Officer
D r Patrick Brown from UC Davis was recently a guest speaker at a series of workshops hosted by Haifa Australia. Patrick has spent many years researching various aspects of tree nutrition and his presentations are always well attended with at least one solid ‘take home’ message. Since a new growing season is approaching, it’s appropriate to review the best management strategies in relation to fertigation. Nutrient budgeting Creating a nutrient budget by taking into account crop removal and the amount of nutrition applied to the tree is a good starting point to determining the amount of fertiliser to be applied during the season. In California there is nitrogen in the groundwater and this needs to be taken in account when determining the amount of fertiliser needed. In Australia this rarely occurs and therefore the process is more straightforward. The total amount of nutrient removed from the orchard can be calculated by getting fruit sampled immediately prior to harvest. Take a sample of fruit from the same trees that you take your regular leaf samples from and have it analysed for each of the three components separately i.e. husk, shell and kernel. Input the data into the spreadsheet in Figure 1 to determine the amount of nutrient removed for the given crop load. In the example shown in Figure 1, 25kg of elemental phosphorus is removed for the 3.4 Tonne/Ha (wet yield). This equates to 96kg/Ha of MAP required to be applied to replace the amount of phosphorous removed by the crop. It’s important to note that this figure may need to be increased to allow for application losses and accumulation within the woody structures of the tree. The same calculations can be done for the other elements. Leaf sampling Leaf sampling is traditionally carried out in January taking leaf samples from non- fruiting spurs. Trees are selected in a random pattern but should be replicated each season so the same trees and sampling pattern is repeated from year to year. This method is useful for the
from leaching or poor uptake. You might remember a previous recommendation from the CT Trial was to apply a large amount of potassium nitrate after profile establishment to ensure the tree had adequate nutrition to draw upon for flowering and early leaf-out. Whilst the aim of this recommendation was to ensure the tree wasn’t lacking available nutrients in the soils, it’s no longer a safe recommendation due to the high risk of leaching nitrates past the rootzone. Almonds have very little water uptake during budburst and flowering with the uptake only increasing with the increasing canopy after leaf-out. No water uptake equals no nutrient uptake and therefore any irrigations or rainfall during flowering can leach highly mobile elements past the rootzone e.g. nitrates. It’s worth noting
overall health of the tree but doesn’t allow tailoring the nutrition program according to the current crop needs, i.e. extra fertiliser for an on-crop and reducing fertiliser inputs if the crop is light. Dr Patrick Brown and his research team have developed a protocol for leaf sampling in early October and when used with current leaf sampling standards, can be used as a guide to alter nutrition programs as needed. An article on the protocol was published in the 2014 spring edition of In A Nutshell. Timing is everything Once the nutrition program is developed it needs to be implemented in a way to maximise efficient uptake. This means fertigating at a time when there is demand from the tree/crop load and applying the fertiliser in a manner to reduce losses
Nutrient Removal Analysis: A Client
Dry Weight (g): Wet Weight (g): Crackout (%): Wet Yield (kg/ha): Dry Yield (kg/ha):
178.71 53.93 138.26 195.65 59.85 146.12 49% 15% 36%
100% 9,436 8,714
SAMPLING INSTRUCTIONS When cracking almonds in readiness for laboratory analysis ensure that each
N % P % K % Ca % Mg % Na %
5.29 0.77 6.51 0.63 0.47 0.04 0.23
0.90 0.53 3.86 0.12 0.05 0.60 3.67 1.85 0.99 0.25 0.12 0.26 0.09 0.04 0.34 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.07 0.10 0.06 21.85 8.70 46.29 27.60 9.88 35.19 150.10 63.06 73.48 5.42 4.55 10.87 70.69 33.20 21.70 0.04 0.02 0.17
fruit has a husk, shell & kernel, NO BLANKS.
Send to laboratory & ask for a full analysis (inc Boron) & the wet weight & dry weight of each of the 3 samples (i.e. husk, shell & kernel)
Zn mg/kg Mn mg/kg Fe mg/kg Cu mg/kg B mg/kg
N kg removed / ha P kg removed / ha K kg removed / ha Ca kg removed / ha Mg kg removed / ha Na kg removed / ha Zn kg removed / ha Mn kg removed / ha Fe kg removed / ha Cu kg removed / ha B kg removed / ha S kg removed / ha Cl kg removed / ha
169.89 25.16 209.69 20.46 15.33
37.79 6.72 125.39 5.04 0.63 19.49 154.09 23.44 32.16 10.50 1.52 8.45 3.78 0.51 11.04 0.84 0.13 0.32 2.94 1.27 1.95 0.09 0.01 0.15 0.12 0.01 0.11 0.63 0.08 0.24 0.02 0.01 0.04 0.30 0.04 0.07 1.68 0.25 5.52
4.47% 3.35% 0.28% 1.35% 0.06% 0.05% 0.21% 0.01% 0.09% 1.63%
1.29 6.16 0.25 0.24 0.95 0.06 0.41 7.46
Figure 1: Crop Removal Table
time to flush all of the fertiliser out of the submains and laterals. The same approach applies to applying fertiliser post-harvest. The leaves on the tree need to be fully functioning (i.e. there needs to be adequate water uptake) and the amount applied is equal to approximately one third of the total fertiliser budget. Post-harvest fertigation sets the tree up with the required carbohydrate storage to help ensure a good start to the following season. Early March or once harvesting of Nonpareil is finished is generally regarded as a good time to start the post-harvest fertiliser program.
practice to fertigate in small regular applications rather than one large ‘slug’ dose. This is especially the case with drip irrigation where daily fertigation should be the norm with the fertiliser applied towards the end of the irrigation. Alternatively a proportional approach to fertigation could be considered where the whole duration of irrigation contains fertiliser and the trees are ‘fed intravenously’. Caution must be exercised with this approach as a poorly designed or maintained irrigation system could distribute the fertiliser unevenly across the property. For sprinkler systems regular fertigation can still occur making sure that the fertiliser is applied in the last two hours of the cycle and there is enough
that while a tree’s root system may go quite deeply into the soil (dependant on topsoil depth and rootstock selection), the main part of the feeder root system will most commonly be in the top 40cm. This is especially true in modern drip irrigation systems where there is a large mass of roots concentrated under the dripper. A more accepted practice of fertigation is to start in early September when leaf out occurs and increase the rate of fertigation as tree demand increases. This happens very quickly in almonds with most of canopy growth and the full fruit development occurring in the first six weeks after flowering is finished i.e. up to pit hardening. It is also a more common
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th Page August 2015.indd 1
18/08/2015 11:12:44 AM
High Health Almond Budwood
Expressions of Interest Almond Trees for 2016 Delivery Over 20 years of combined nursery experience Spring Budded 2014 2 YR OLD TREES and Autumn and Spring Budded 2015 trees Taking orders for 2016 Winter Delivery Ph: 08 8595 8042 or 0439 740 259 T he Almond Board of Australia recently participated in a meeting with Plant Health Australia, researchers and the other nut industry bodies to update the industries’ Biosecurity Plan. The meeting looked at the likelihood of exotic pests and diseases entering the country, the ease of spread they would encounter once here and the economic damage to the industry they would inflict. In considering these threats, the impact on our orchards was listed from known experience overseas and varied from no visible symptoms to tree death, particularly in young trees. The meeting provided a timely reminder of the very long list of pests, diseases, bacteria, fungi, viruses and phytoplasmas both already existing in and exotic to Australia that can impact heavily on the performance of almond trees. The Plant Health Australia staff, who have undertaken the task of preparing the Nut Industry Biosecurity Plan, emphasised the need for industries to implement the practices identified as restricting the spread of plant debilitating organisms. The action heavily emphasised as being a major factor in restricting the spread was purchasing trees that were produced from high health status, virus tested budwood material. In the almond industry, the ABA has invested heavily in maintaining budwood motherplantings, even in years of low demand, because the Board Directors are aware that orchards are a long term
investment and starting them off with infected material is a very poor decision. The ABA motherplantings are tested each year by State Government researchers and the trees are carefully managed to ensure diseases such as bacterial spot, rust, etc are not present. Unfortunately, during times of high demand for trees pop-up nurserymen appear with little history and little concern for the quality of tree produced. The ABA has been told that tree buds have been sourced from an orchard lousy with bacterial spot and the trees are stunted. The best safeguard is to use reputable nurseries that use high health status ABA material. Demand from the nurseryman that the budwood used in your trees is sourced from the ABA and check with the ABA that the nurseryman has bought his budwood from the industry motherplantings. Growers should also be aware that it is not only disease that presents the risk of non-performance in their nursery trees, it is also brought on by moving generations away from the elite material held to provide motherplantings. This is particularly important for the Carmel variety. For an investment of less than $50 an acre get the best budwood material available as you want your orchard to establish quickly and deliver the biggest yields possible for many years to come.
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SA to host National Almond Centre of Excellence
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Australia’s largest and fastest growing horticultural sector will soon have its own National Centre of Excellence in South Australia’s Riverland. Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Leon Bignell said the South Australian Government had reached an agreement with the Almond Board of Australia for the facility to be based at the Loxton Research Centre. “The National Almond Centre of Excellence will ensure future innovation and technology advances for almond growers in South Australia and around the nation,” Mr Bignell said.
“As Regional Development Minister I’m delighted the Government and the Board have agreed to this initiative going ahead in the Riverland. It recognises the potential for significant industry growth in the region and more broadly, leading to more regional jobs.” Chief Executive Officer of the Almond Board of Australia, Ross Skinner, said the Centre would add significant research capacity to the industry. “The rapid growth recently experienced by the industry has outpaced the availability of researchers with experience in almond production,” Mr Skinner said. “It has also highlighted
Almond Board of Australia CEO Ross Skinner, Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell and Almond Centre Chairman Brendan Sidhu during a recent visit to the Riverland.
together with offices and laboratory facilities. Mr Bignell, who met with almond importers in India last year, said the Centre of Excellence would help grow Australia’s exports. “The almond industry is worth more than $160 million a year to our state, with Australia now the second largest almond exporter in the world behind California. “Almond exports account for nearly 75 per cent of sales with major markets in Europe, India, the Middle East, New Zealand and Asia. “Initiatives such as the National Almond Centre underpin the State Government’s commitment to develop industries and create further export opportunities through our economic priority of premium food and wine produced in our clean environment and exported to the world. “This is also an excellent opportunity to bring together the community, industry and scientific leaders at the Loxton Research Centre.” Minister for Regional Development Geoff Brock said the funding for research was part of his agreement with the Premier.
The Centre complements the investment made by both the South Australian and Victorian Labor governments in almond research and supports the growth of almond production across the river communities of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The agreement includes a State Government commitment of $1 million per year for four years, with further contributions from industry and the Federal Government. It comprises: • Expanding the South Australian Research and Development Institute’s (SARDI) scientific capacity supporting the industry’s research program • PIRSA to establish a new research site to enable semi commercial scale assessment of new varieties from the Adelaide University’s plant breeding program • A new experimental orchard for research into new production systems and enhanced land and water management, and • Almond board staff to be based at the redeveloped Loxton Research Centre
the need for an experimental orchard to accelerate the evaluation of the very promising new varieties from the University of Adelaide which are more suitable to Australian soils and climate. “This announcement lays a foundation for the industry to continue to develop, supported by a strong research community working closely with industry to provide the knowledge and technologies required to implement the almond industry’s strategic plan. Mr Skinner said the industry’s producers were overwhelmingly supportive of the establishment of the Almond Centre of Excellence. “The industry looks forward to working with researchers and Horticulture Innovation Australia in developing the future research program that will utilise the resources that the Ministers have announced.
“This will ultimately benefit not only almond producers but also the river communities.”
Virtually no-one outside the almond industry blinked when Australia overtook Spain as the world’s number two exporter last year. But South Australians certainly should have taken notice, with the humble nut set to join the olive and the grape as a great new cash crop for the State. This year’s crop is expected to top out at a record 75,000 tonnes, with room for growth as international demand expands. This is due to the ongoing drought reducing California’s yield, which normally accounts for 80 per cent of world output. The $370 million almond export industry is already a second- generation success in South Australia, with growers expanding from original plantations around Adelaide into the Riverland. And it is likely to grow faster and further, if research led by the University to create an almond that is especially suited to Australia succeeds. Almonds are a good source of protein, plus Vitamin E, heart disease risk-reducing monounsaturated fat and dietary fibre. Almond meal also meets the increasing market gluten-free foods. Recent US research also points to the almond’s potential in preventing the onset of diabetes. “Almonds are the quiet achiever of horticulture,” says Dr Michelle Wirthensohn, Horticulture Innovation Australia Research Fellow at the University’s Waite Research Institute. Also in the pipeline is a research project on almond waste, investigating the use the shell in cancer treatment and as an organic feed additive for fish and abalone. It’s why Dr Wirthensohn, by her own admission, “lives and breathes almonds”—she is currently working to discover if new tree breeds can create a super SA nut. “At the moment there are only three cultivars, so we need to develop more for long-term sustainability,” she says. Of the five varieties in large-scale trials in the Riverland and Sunraysia regions, three are self-fertile, which could be a very big deal indeed for growers. Many commercial cultivars, notably Australian favourite Nonpareil, are sterile, so bees and polliniser varieties need to be planted to ensure fruit is set. However, this means orchards are less productive and crops could also reduce if, as feared, bee populations decline. The potential for self-fertility was identified in the mid-1970s when Italian almond cultivars were found to be self-fertile. It’s a long research process with promising signs of success but nothing certain as yet, which does not deter Dr Wirthensohn, who has built a career on understanding and improving horticultural crops. An Adelaide girl, she did an agricultural sciences degree at the University, specialising in animal genetics but she later switched to plants, going on to complete a PhD that identified foliage of 12 eucalypts for floriculture. “It’s the skills you learn along the way not what you apply them to,” she says. Her advice to students is, “don’t make up your mind too early”. From eucalypts, Dr Wirthensohn then began studying olives, examining the commercial potential of types of fruit growing wild and finding eight varieties with prospects. While her main research interest is now almonds, Dr Wirthensohn has held on to a love of olives, judging green and black eating varieties for the Royal
Dr Michelle Wirthensohn
She then joined her mentor, Professor Margaret Sedgley, who had worked on almond cultivars since 1997, receiving three Australian Research Council Linkage grants for the project. After over a decade’s work, Dr Wirthensohn says she is patiently waiting on the results from 30,000 seedlings. In the meantime, progress is supported by an international project to sequence the almond genome, funded by the big four of almonds: Spain, France, the US and Australia. “We’re collaborative more than competitive,” she says. “Once I have a sequence of genes, I can then search for molecular markers for bitterness and shell hardness in seedlings. This will make the process so much faster as it takes three years for almond trees to produce a crop.” But aren’t thirsty almond trees the last thing the Riverland needs in the driest state of the world’s driest continent? Dr Wirthensohn says perhaps that would be true if Australian growers used the flooding irrigation methods the Californians do. As it is, the drip- irrigation techniques in the Riverland produce a crop which is much more sustainable than rice or even cotton. “Almonds are a high-nutrition crop which produces much more value per litre of water,” she says. According to the National Water Commission, 90 per cent of the State’s almond groves are drip irrigated with most of the balance using sprinklers. The industry is an excellent example of how the water trading market works to ensure industries can be environmentally and economically sustainable. Industry and government are right behind her work, with funding from Horticulture Innovation Australiausing the almond industry levy and funds from the Australian Government. With a research program to last a working life, in cutting edge science that will improve a nutritious crop with cancer treating potential, what’s not to love about almonds? Dr Michelle Wirthensohn is certainly happy to stick with this project. “I’m in the field, and in the lab, it’s quite ideal.”
14 Reprinted from: The University of Adelaide, Adelaidean - http://www.adelaide.edu.au/adelaidean/issues/80090/news80142.html Media Contact: Kate Husband Communications Manager (Media) Marketing & Communications, The University of Adelaide Business: +61 8 8313 0814 14
Does s ze matter when it comes to identifying carob moth?
Cathy Taylor and David Madge Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victoria. During our research on carob moth, we have found the occasional moths that have the grey colouring and dark wavy band across the wings, typical of carob moth, but are significantly smaller. These moths have been approximately 8 mm long, compared to the 12 mm usually described for carob moth (Figure 1). Also, during the last DNA sequence was then compared to records in the GenBank and BOLD DNA sequence databases (Benson et al. 2011, Ratnasingham et al. 2007) to confirm the identity of the specimens. These databases the moth size variation we have been observing in almonds similarly relates to the variation in larval diets, which range from fresh moist hulls and new kernels to old dry hulls and mouldy mummy kernels.
hold information on publicly available DNA sequences that have been linked to particular species of organisms by researchers worldwide and can be used to identify organisms by their DNA. The GenBank database for example currently holds records of over 182 million DNA sequences. The DNA analysis confirmed that the small moths that we and growers have been catching occasionally in carob moth pheromone traps, and that have the colour and patterning typical of carob moth, are indeed carob moth. All six moths analysed had the same mitochondrial COI DNA sequence as each other, indicating that they were all the same species, and the DNA sequence had a 100% match with carob moth in the GenBank and BOLD DNA sequence databases. Variations in adult size of carob moth have been attributed to larval diet. For example, Idder et al. (2009) found moth length to
Regarding its scientific name, carob moth has numerous synonyms of which Ectomyelois ceratoniae and Apomyelois ceratoniae are two. At the start of the project on carob moth in almonds, Ectomyelois was the accepted genus name and was used in the majority of scientific papers being published at the time. Currently Apomyelois is the accepted version. To cover all bases, we now refer to carob moth as Apomyelois (=Ectomyelois) ceratoniae! Acknowledgements This project was funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the almond industry levy and funds from the Australian Government. Funding was also provided by the State of Victoria ‘Growing Food and Fibre’ initiative via the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (formerly the Department of Environment and Primary Industries). Many thanks to the Almond Board of Australia for supporting the project and References Benson, D. A., I. Karsch-Mizrachi, et al. (2011). "GenBank." Nucleic Acids Research. DOI 10.1093/ nar/gkr1202. Idder, M. A., H. Idder-Ighili, et al. (2009). "Taux d’infestation et morphologie de la pyrale des dattes Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller) sur différentes variétés du palmier dattier Phoenix dactylifera (L.). (Infestation rate and morphology of the carob moth, Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller), on different varieties of the palm date, Phoenix dactylifera (L.))." Cahiers Agricultures 18(1): 63-71. Nay, J. E. (2006). Biology, ecology, and management of the carob moth, Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), a pest of dates, Phoenix dactylifera L., in southern California. Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, Riverside. Ratnasingham, S. and P. D. N. Hebert (2007) "BOLD: The Barcode of Life Data System (www. barcodinglife.org)." Molecular Ecology Notes 7, 355-364. to the orchard managers who have maintained carob moth traps for the project.
growing season, we fielded a number of questions from growers about similar small moths they were catching in their carob moth traps. To clarify the identity of these small moths, we sent specimens of what appeared to be small and large carob moths to the DEDJTR Biosciences taxonomy group for DNA sequencing and analysis. The moths had been caught in carob moth pheromone traps during our field trials. To compare and identify the different sized moths, DNA was extracted from the heads of three small and three typical-sized moths. For the technically- minded, one section (containing more than 500 base pairs) of the mitochondrial COI (Cytochrome Oxidase I) gene was sequenced to examine genetic variation between the specimens. The
range from 7.2 mm to 12.2 mm depending on the variety of date that the larvae had fed upon. Another researcher, Nay (2006) found that the weight (and presumably size) of newly emerged moths can vary by up to four times, depending on the development stage of the date fruit that the larvae had fed upon, even on a single date variety. It is likely that
Figure 1. Small (8 mm) and typical-sized (11-12 mm) carob moths captured on a sticky base with a 2 cm grid. Note the wing colour and pattern are the same as the typical-sized moths.
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INC releases 2 nd World Nuts and Dried Fruits Trade Flows map highlighting trends and opportunities in nut production and consumption
The map’s 2nd edition, which includes data by income levels, brings together over a decade of in-depth research and analysis and is a unique tool that aims to support informed market research and trend analysis.
Following the release of the 2014- 2015 Global Statistical Review, the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) has published the 2 nd edition of its World Nuts and Dried Fruits Trade Flows map with the review and the trade flow map, the product of a decade of research into the industry’s growth and consumption patterns, supply invaluable data to enable producers and suppliers alike to better understand the industry’s situation -and the related opportunities. With the wealth of actionable data it includes, the new release will be welcome news for producers and suppliers alike. Its findings and detailed breakdown of distribution and supply will inform targeted market research and trend analysis -essentials in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.
The map and report data show encouraging growth in the nut and dried fruit sector, with a 56% increase in tree nut consumption since 2004 , 24% in dried fruit and 33% in peanuts – all of which serve to confirm the rising trend in global consumption observed over the last few years. In the last decade alone the total production of tree nuts has increased 55% peanuts by 4% and dried fruit by 22%. Global Statistical Review 2014-2015 The 2014-2015 Global Statistical Review and World Nuts and Dried Fruits Trade Flows map are available for industry producers and suppliers as well as for governmental agencies and official authorities in agriculture, economics and trade around the globe with information about the production, trade and consumption: Production: • World tree nut production in 2014/15 totaled 3.5 million metric tons - a 5.4% increase from the previous season. • Global dried fruit production totaled 2.5 million metric tons - a 21% increase. • Peanut production reached 36 million metric tons, 33% up from 2013/14.
Consumption: • In 2013, world consumption of tree nuts achieved almost 3.5 million MT. • Dried fruit consumption has increased 24% in the last ten years. • World peanut consumption reached almost 36 million metric tons. Total nut and dried fruit supply value accompanied the rising trends in consumption in the last decade, reaching $33,706 million for tree nuts in 2014 and $7,470 million in the case of dried fruits. The Global Statistical Review 2014-2015 is also available for download and can be accessed in PDF form at http://www. nutfruit.org/global-statistical-review-2014-2015_101779.pdf About the INC The International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC) groups nearly 700 nut and dried fruit-sector companies from over 70 countries. INC is the international organization of reference regarding health, nutrition, statistics, food safety, international standards and regulations relating to nuts and dried fruit.
Trade: • Global trade of tree nuts in 2013 increased by 36% over 2012.
• Dried fruit trading increased by 9%. • Peanuts trading increased by 11%.
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“The future belongs to those who plant for it”
Vale John Bird 1957 - 2015
almond orchards and was in the top five growers internationally. John shared his enthusiasm and expertise as an active member of the Australian Almond Growers Association, setting the Almond Industry Marketing Committee on solid foundations, and later leading the newly structured Almond Board of Australia as Chairman from 2007 to 2009. His belief that Australia’s export opportunities were virtually unlimited if it could boost production, continues to be proven. In recent years John had broadened his involvement in the almond industry as Sales Manager of Bright Light Australian Almonds, Non-Executive Director of Langdon Group, Director of 1 DAY Pty Ltd Agribusiness Consultancy, and as a Director of Almond Investors Limited. In addition, John and his wife Julie were joint owners of SAY IT WITH FLOWERS, a successful florist business in Melbourne. On behalf of its board, staff and members, the Almond Board of Australia sends sincere condolences to Julie and to John’s extended family. He will be remembered with much fondness by his almond and nut industry colleagues and friends in Australia and Internationally.
promotion to Managing Director of Jorgenson Waring Australia in 1988, annual sales grew to $110 million. While homegrown almond product was limited initially, through a joint marketing arrangement with Riverland Almonds and Select Harvests Limited under the Allinga brand, the volume of Australian almonds traded increased substantially, highlighting the potential for significant growth of almond production in this country. In 1998, John was appointed CEO of Select Harvests, and at that time the company owned 1800 acres of almonds producing an annual crop of 1600 tonnes. It was a pivotal time for Select Harvests and for the Almond Industry. Select Harvests implemented a new business model establishing a processing and marketing division and, to provide the necessary investment required for a substantial increase in orchard development, a strategic alliance was formed with Timbercorp Limited to develop and manage almond orchards for investors. This resulted in the development of over 40,000 acres of new almond orchards, a monumental achievement in a short time frame, and the establishment of an export market increased annual sales to $125 million. It was the dawn of a new era for Australian almonds raising production to global significance. By 2004, Select Harvests Limited managed around 65% of Australia’s make better decisions.’’ The final point in Dr Brown’s presentation tackled salinity, managing the root zone around crops, using water efficiently and keeping crops productive. He urged growers to be prepared for drought conditions, regardless of the current season. “There are big issues with salinity in California right now because we’re in a drought and growers end up using poorer quality water and less water,” he said. “Growers need to learn how to do that properly. “At the moment, Australia isn’t in a drought so growers are not really thinking about it, but we’re all aware that we will be in a drought at some point in the future, so it’s good to be prepared. “It’s important for growers in New South Wales and Victoria to look after their water so when it gets to Adelaide it’s in a decent, drinkable state. That’s in everyone’s best interest.” Dr Brown, who is originally from Australia, said he saw many similarities between Australian growers and those in California, but said Australian nut growers were at the top end of the production-scale, being good managers and growers. However, he said there was still potential for growth in the industry and as crops expanded into more marginal areas, new challenges would emerge that require different expertise and management. Regardless of location, Dr Brown said every grower faced the same challenges of knowing how to grow the most productive crop, manage with the most efficiency and make the most profit, which is why he
John Bird died suddenly on 13th May while visiting family in the UK. He was 58. The success of Australia’s Almond Industry is recognised worldwide, but there was no serendipity
about John’s career in the booming industry. He had a strategic philosophy that made things happen. Almond production increased from about 4,000 tonnes annually at the turn of the century to about 80,000 tonnes today, making almonds Australia’s most valuable horticultural export commodity. John’s vision for an internationally competitive Australian almond industry together with his financial, managerial and trading skills, was a key driver behind Australia’s success in becoming the second largest almond industry in the world. John moved from confectionery to the nut trade in 1986 as a financial controller with Jorgenson Waring Australia. The group consisted of two trading companies, Jorgenson Waring Australia founded by the late John Waring and Nut Trading Company, founded by Chris Joyce. Following his NUT growers made the most of the opportunity to hear esteemed plant nutrition researcher Dr Patrick Brown on his recent visit to Australia. Dr Brown, who is also a Professor of Plant Science at the University of California, Davis, presented to growers at Renmark in South Australia, Mildura in Victoria and Griffith in New South Wales as part of his visit, which was coordinated by Haifa Australia. The nut tree nutrition presentations were extremely well received by growers, with all three meetings at maximum capacity. Dr Brown had three key messages to convey through his presentation, the first of which was focused on optimising the use of fertilisers, with a particular focus on nitrogen. “This is to get growers thinking about the goal of optimising the efficiency of their practises,” Dr Brown said. “There has been a tendency to maximise rather than optimise and I like to try and teach growers how to get that balance just right, so production is where it should be. You’re not losing any money and you’re not losing any nutrients that can get into waterways.” Dr Brown then turned his attention to the use of foliar fertilisers, which he said were commonly used but actually very poorly understood. He said there was a lot of hype around foliar fertilisers and money was being spent by growers unnecessarily. “I outline the principles behind when foliar fertilisers should be used to give growers a better understanding of the horticulture, so they can then
Reprinted from: The Australian Nutgrower Journal - June 2015 edition. Written by Jennifer Wilkinson
Haifa hosts Californian researcher to help fill nut tree education gap
sought to give them a different perspective on those challenges. “Biology is biology, it doesn’t matter where you are,” he said. “The message I give is as valid in Australia as it is in California. “There is a gap in education in Australia at the moment, so growers seem to be very grateful to be given an understanding of the science and horticulture behind the decisions they make. “There is way too much sales-only information out there, so I think it’s tremendously important that Haifa has brought me out to talk about the horticulture and the biology. “It’s obvious that growers appreciate that separation between what is commercial and what is educational,’’ Dr Brown said.
The team from Select Harvests, one of Australia’s largest almond producers, analyse yield data with Dr Patrick Brown (centre), Professor of Plant Science at the University of California, Davis, and Haifa Agronomist Jon Corona (back right).
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