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