Vol 11 Issue 2 - Spring 2011

Where to next The recent Advanced Harvest Systems workshop and R&D committee meetings have indicated three key areas for R&D investment beginning in 2012/13 are: • Storage in controlled environment to manage moisture; biological and physical contamination; and shell and kernel damage.

allowed product to be picked up and managed if wet by rain.

from the heated air and passed through a vented hopper that also consisted of a continuously moving labyrinth, at which time a fan sucked ambient temperature through vents on the side walls and expelled it to atmosphere. The cooling chamber was critical to remove the last layer of moist air that may have been brought to the outside of the hull in the drying process. This process was also a critical step in ensuring a crisp hull and conditioning the

On-farm hulling Once dried and cooled, the product was hulled to produce an in-shell product using a Pin Roller. The Pin Roller was recommended for an in-shell product as it was very effective at removing only the hull, yielding approximately 96-97% in-shell product. However, it was not suited to producing raw kernel as the pins damaged the product. The traditional sheer roller was not as high yielding for in-shell product and more suited to raw kernel. Once the product had been dried and cooled, the in-shell line had a capacity of 2.5 tonnes of finished in-shell product per hour. The in-shell product was then in a form to freight to the packing shed for final quality sorting and selling as in-shell, or further shelling for the production of raw kernel. The retention of the hull on-farm which is approximately 60% of the total fruit weight and can account for 100kg/ha of nitrogen and 200kg/ha of potassium, provides a significant opportunity for freight savings and for the hull to be reused on the farm as a mulch/nutrient source or as a fuel source to power a central boiler through ethanol production or cogeneration. Both the drying and hulling facility was managed by one person who had a central control room located within the hulling section of the shed.

• Aeration / dehydration on farm of whole fruit. • Hulling on farm, either in the orchard or at the stockpile/storage area. These areas are the start of a new R&D initiative and an exciting era for the Australian almond industry and the pursuit of its vision - “as a profitable industry to lead in the efficient production, processing and marketing of quality almonds and secure a position of preferred supplier”.

product. The final product measured 4-5% kernel moisture. The drying of product from 12-14% to 4-5% kernel moisture took approximately 6 hours and the cooling chamber process took approximately 20 minutes. Apart from increased through-put, there were additional advantages of drying moist product; it provided more flexibility at harvest and enabled harvest to begin earlier (“greener”) and finish earlier, and

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Clockwise from top left: Mongomery’s bulk drying facility: -1. Pre-Cleaner, 2. Central Boiler, 3. Heat Exchange (water pipes and radiators), 4. Heat Exchange (fans), 5. Silos, 6. Vented Cooling Tower, 7. Pin Roller, 8. Hulling Plant

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