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
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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