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In the Orchard
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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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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. 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.
publication does not necessarily reflect the views
of the Almond Board of Australia and unless otherwise specified, no products and/or services are endorsed by this organisation.
Editor Jo Ireland
Communications Manager Almond Board of Australia 9 William Street, PO Box 2246 BERRI SA 5343
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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
Brendan Sidhu Chairmans Corner
Whilst the supply chain participants have had a busy year, so have the ABA Board, Committees and staff. In short, the ABA role is to provide an improved operating environment for us all to conduct our businesses in. Whether access to information through to access to markets, the ABA has invested heavily in time and effort to continue the industry’s development during the year. I would like to thank the Board and Committee members for their commitment to the industry during the past year which is undertaken on a voluntary basis. Their input on a wide range of issues has been invaluable. Taking the direction of the Board and following it through to a result is the role of the ABA staff and we are fortunate to have a talented and committed team in place. I thank our staff for their dedication over the last year. In closing the door on 2011 it is wise for us to remember the lessons of this wet year
The recent rain events were an apt way to see out 2011. Record rainfall for the year and much of it at difficult times has challenged the members of our industry right across the supply chain. The weed, pest, disease, flooding and harvesting pressures have many growers remembering fondly the period of drought conditions if not the cost of water. The inconsistency of product presented to industry processors has impacted on throughput efficiency and product outturn with all hullers and shellers working to maintain the reputation of our product from a food safety perspective. A significant plus for the industry in entering the new year is that the 2011 crop has been fully sold by our marketers. With a record crop hanging on the trees, the empty storerooms going into the new season will enable the industry to hopefully restore its position as a supplier of the highest quality product and receive a much needed improvement in price.
and strive to develop production practices that reduce quality deterioration and crop loss. This push has gained momentum in 2011 and despite a hoped for better season this coming year the challenge of continuing the industry’s development of improved technologies will still be the priority in 2012. May your nuts be large and plentiful. All the best to everyone for the year ahead.
CEO Update Ross Skinner
In setting meeting dates for 2012, the contribution of board directors and subcommittee members was brought home. Providing the expert industry input to address issues across the supply chain and to develop initiatives to continue the development of the industry, the effort and time of Committee members is the foundation of the ABA. As mentioned in previous Nutshell articles the coming
The 2011 year is drawing to an end and it has been a busy one for the Directors and staff of the Almond Board of Australia. There has recently been changes to the ABA Board of Directors with Damien Houlahan being elected as one of the three marketing directors at the recent AGM and will join Brenton Woolston, who was also re-elected and Grant Birrell in these positions. The grower directors elected unopposed were Domenic Cavallaro, Tony Spiers, Neale Bennett and Denis Dinicola. The other grower directors whose terms end in 2012 are Tim Orr and Brendan Sidhu. At the AGM the services of retiring director, Tim Millen were recognised.
The good news stories during recent months such as Almondco’s export marketing award and the announcement of Olam’s processing facility at Carwarp continues to raise awareness of the growing stature of the almond industry. As 2011 draws to an end it is worthy of note that during the year a closer relationship with the Almond Board of California has developed culminating with the ABA hosting Richard Waycott and Bob Curtis at our recent Conference. Both men were generous with both their time and the insights they shared with our industry. Richard’s presentation reflected the depth of knowledge and the systematic method of acquiring market information that has seen their recent huge crops cleared at record monthly sales tonnages. The Conference presentation by Nigel Carey of Nut Producers Australia also displayed that although a much smaller player on world markets, Australia’s marketing was based on a sound understanding of our markets and our strengths. I would take this opportunity to thank all the Conference presenters who made this year’s event a successful one. With 210 attendees, the Conference was a source of information for those involved across the industry. The continuing support of those attending and sponsoring the event is much appreciated. May 2012 be a happy and fulfilling year for all.
harvest will be our largest by far and expand our volume to be marketed by
65%. The additional 25,000 tonnes will be exported as the domestic market is a relatively stable 15,000 tonnes. The good news is the Australian marketers will enter the new year with no carryover of the 2011 crop having cleared stock well before the end of the marketing year in February. This places the industry to take full advantage of a high quality crop if this can be delivered. The expansion of the almond industry in traditional horticultural regions has
delivered significant economic and employment benefits. The investment in orchards and new processing facilities during 2011 and planned for 2012 will continue to provide this much needed boost to our communities.
In addition, a special resolution was passed at the AGM to add a grower director from Western Australia’s Swan Region to the Board in recognition of the significant plantings that have been established in that area and now represent over 5% of total industry orchards. It is anticipated that this position will be filled as a casual vacancy before an election for the position is held at the 2012 AGM. At the November Board meeting, Brendan Sidhu was re-elected as ABA Chair for 2011-12 with Neale Bennett as Deputy Chair. The Committee roles for the Board Directors were allocated and the Chairs appointed for the Sub Committees for Plant Improvement, Production, Processing and Marketing.
Marketing Matters Due to the flowering and weather issues impacting on the 2011 Australian almond crop, this season’s tonnage was 17,000 tonnes less than originally forecast and despite some quality concerns has been sold some months short of the marketing year. As a result of limited availability of Australian product, our domestic marketing program has been adapted – in particular our Almond Driver program. the opportunity to promote almonds as an ideal sports recovery snack. In regard to the later, there was a very positive response from several nut marketers present at the Fine Foods Show. They requested that the industry consider developing a ‘sports recovery’ logo that they could use on multi-packs of almonds and this is being investigated. Joseph Ebbage Marketing Program Manager
Educating Health Professionals The Educating Health Professional program continued with our participation at GPCE Melbourne. Over 380 doctors and practice nurses requested our educational kits that consist of 12 x 30gm heart-shaped almond tins and our latest health information cards. We now have a significant database of health professionals to whom we have sent these kits: 1,637 doctors, nurses and practice managers from the past four years of GP conferences and 858 dietitians, sports dietitians and exercise physiologists. During January 2012, we will be sending each of these contacts a large heart-shaped tin containing 200gm of dry roasted almonds as well as a health information update. The objective of this promotion is to increase their advocacy of almonds.. Our other almond snacking tin promotion planned for January and February will focus on cricket coaches and their players. We will offer 1,000 cricket coaches the opportunity to receive a dozen filled ‘cricket tins’ for their players. The feature of this program will be our specially designed almond snack tins to emulate a cricket ball. We have also commissioned our program dietitian and Almond Ambassador, Sara Grafenauer, to summarize the latest health research into almonds with a particular focus on heart health, diabetes and weight management. This review will be the basis of our health and nutrition education programs for 2012.
The magazine advertising planned to support the Christmas promotion and the was cancelled but the point of sale posters as well as shelf wobblers with the ‘Celebrate Christmas’ theme were provided to a number of Driver Program partners. The Advertising investment for the ‘New Year, New Heart’ promotion has also been saved will now be used to support our 2012 ‘New Season’ promotion. promotion will feature new creative imagery that highlights the great taste of almonds fresh from our orchards. This creative will be utilized in advertisements, posters, shelf-wobblers, and stickers for retail packs, cartons and display bins. The advertising schedule for our New Season promotion will cover food titles such as BBC Good Food and Superfood Ideas as well as Men’s and Women’s health magazines. We will also be advertising our New Season almonds on the most popular online recipe site, www.taste.com.au Fine Foods 2011 One of the annual Driver Program activities was our exhibition at the September Fine Foods Show in Sydney. This year we highlighted the opportunity to merchandise natural sliced almonds with prepared salads in the retail environment as well as 2012 New Season Campaign The New Season Australian Almond
It’s almond season.
FRESH picked P R O D U C E O F A U S T R A L I A
Australian Almonds www.australianalmonds.com.au
2011 October8-12 All four Australian almond marketers were present within the Australian pavilion at the recent Anuga Food Fair in Cologne, Germany. This expo ran from October 8 to 12 with more than 155,000 people visiting the 6,500 exhibitors at the Fair. The Australian almond industry was represented by Almondco, Nut Producers Australia, Olam and Select Harvest. Preparations are underway for the two other major exhibitions for this financial year: namely, Gulfoods in Dubai (February) and the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) XXXI World Nut & Dried Fruit Congress in Singapore (May).
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13th Australian Almond Conference 26th - 28th October 2011 Unlocking The Future
The ABA’s Annual General Meeting commenced proceedings on the Thursday with Ross Skinner and Brendan Sidhu reporting on the ABA’s activities and finances in 2010/11. HAL’s Annual Levy Payers’ Meeting followed the AGM with presentations from Greg Buchanan on the Almond R&D program for the year, Warwick Scherf reported on developments impacting on rural R&D whilst Mark Downey advised on the role of DPI Victoria as the lead research agency for almonds. The Conference proper’s afternoon session commenced with presentations from Steve Radeski from ANZ Banking Corporation, Richard Waycott the President of the Almond Board of California and Nut Producers Australia’s Nigel Carey. Both Richard’s and Nigel’s presentations highlighting the global position of almonds from both an Australian and an international perspective, emerging world markets and the future outlook for almonds worldwide. The marketing session also included ‘What Retailers are looking for from almonds’ from Category Business Manager Stavroula Drakos. The research presentations that followed included Food Safety Supply Chain issues from David Madge of VIC DPI and a presentation on Post Harvest Systems from Assoc. Professor John Fielke to round out the day’s proceedings. The presentation of the 2011 Phil Watters Award was made to Dean Dinicola as part of the proceedings for this year’s conference. Neale Bennett, ABA Deputy Chairman, presented the Award to Dean who was honoured to have received the Award, and plans to use the prize to fund a study tour to California to research storage and drying of high moisture content nuts, among other things. More on Dean’s achievements follow on p 10. The Annual Conference Dinner, sponsored by Elders was a great end to the first day’s proceedings. Australian Almond Industry Hall of Fame was launched at the dinner by Brendan Sidhu, and four
pioneers of the Australian Almond Industry - Mr Fredrick Keane, Mr Eric Lacey, Mr Ross Martin and Mr John Parkinson were inducted. Each of these men’s contributions were noted in an audio visual presentation, followed by the unveiling of framed portraits outlining their achievements which will hang on the walls of the ABA’s office and copies of the framed portraits were presented to the inductee’s family. Friday not only presented the conference with a perfect day but with some enthusiastic and entertaining speakers. A highlight was the presentation by Gavin McMahon the CEO of Central Irrigation Trust who offered a glimpse into the impact and severity of the drought and the new Murray Darling Basin Plan and what the future may hold for irrigators along the Murray Darling. Following Gavin delegates heard from Mark O’Connell on using water wisely, and then Brett Rosenzweig and Ben Brown from the ABA gave insightful presentations on Lessons learnt from the 2010/11 season and Key findings from the CT Trial respectively. Rounding out the morning sessions of the second day of proceedings Bob Curtis, Associate Director of Agricultural Affairs of the Almond Board of California’s presentation was summarised the work being undertaken in California on a range of issues. The ABA would like to thank Horticulture Australia for its co-funding, sponsors and presenters for making this year’s event a showcase which the Australian almond industry can be proud of. By any measure the 2011 conference was a success. It is our premier forum for sharing information that benefits our industry and its participants and promotes us to the broader horticultural community. Many thanks to everyone for their never ending enthusiasm and support and for making the conference a great success. The ABA is investigating some interesting concepts for the next Australian Almond Conference to be held in 2012. Further venue and event details will be available in the new year.
The Almond Board of Australia once again held an extremely successful conference at the beautiful McCracken Country Club from Wednesday October 26th to Friday October 28th. This year’s conference was attended by over 200 registrants and it is wonderful to see that despite the difficult seasons the Australian almond industry Conference is still a well supported event. This year’s theme “Unlocking the Future” enabled the program of speakers to address new developments across the supply chain and future initiatives. International and domestic keynote speakers were invited to present the latest information and the interaction between audience and presenters drew out much valuable information and opinion. The trade display with 20 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and innovations stimulated great interest. The size and quality of exhibits was a first for both the ABA and the Conference venue, with a number of new suppliers joining us this year. It was good to hear that stands were busy throughout the event with a steady stream of interested visitors. Wednesday started with the New Holland golf day, with our largest ever line up for the tee off. A gorgeous sunny day provided ideal conditions for the competition and the major prizes supplied by the golf day sponsor were hotly contested. This social and enjoyable day was followed by a relaxing evening at the JackRabbit sponsored welcome reception providing a great opportunity to catch up with others overlooking the beautiful grounds of the golf course. Brendan Sidhu, ABA Chairman and Trevor Dennis, Managing Director of Platinum Sponsor, HAIFA Australia jointly opened proceedings on Thursday morning. The two-day conference program included over 25 presentations covering many aspects of almond growing and key industry issues such as: water and irrigation management; almond breeding; domestic and international marketing activities and pest and disease updates.
The Almond Board of Australia gratefully acknowledges our valued 2011 conference sponsors Platinum Silver Dinner Golf Welcome Bronze Exhibitors Omega Orchards Supporting Sponsors
Riverina almond producer wins Phil Watters Award
drive and innovation had contributed significantly to him achieving his goal of excellence in his almond orchard. Dean will use the prize to fund a study tour to California where he will investigate more efficient and effective ways of storing and drying high moisture almonds prior to delivery to processing companies. He is also interested in looking at new self pollinator varieties and any new techniques in fertilisation and irrigation to enhance Almond production within the orchards. The Award is part funded from a trust administered by the Almond Board of Australia (ABA) and is part funded by Horticulture Australia. It is dedicated to the memory of Phil Watters, a respected individual and dedicated technical officer in the almond industry. To make donations to the Phil Watters Award or for more information about the Award, please contact the ABA office on 08 8582 2055 or visit the industry section of www. australianalmonds.com.au to download the forms.
the Australian Almond industry” said Dean. Dean began working on the family property at Lake Wyangan in the Riverina, at the age of 16 and has been heavily involved in the development of the almond orchard. Since leaving school Dean has completed an Almond Best Practice Agronomic Management Training Program and has helped to coordinate and run trials and field days at their property in conjunction with Ben Brown of the Almond Board of Australia. He has embraced the latest technological advances and best practice management practices to bring the family almond property into production, and he maintains a strict irrigation, fertigation and spraying programme. Dean is now seen as a leading innovator in almond production in the Riverina region and has set up his own fertigation system that uses 2 kilometres of black poly pipe as a solar heater to produce hot water for the mixing tank to allow the fertilizer to totally dissolve before being applied through the irrigation system. He has also utilised a swivel PTO gearbox in his harvester to allow greater manoeuvrability within the orchard. The Almond Board of Australia selection committee for the Award noted Dean’s
The 2011 Australian Almond Industry Phil Watters Award was awarded to Riverina almond grower Dean Dinicola at this year’s Australian Almond Conference held in Victor Harbor, South Australia, at the end October. The Phil Watters Award recognises service to the Australian almond industry, in particular a dedication to research, development and the improvement of almond production, adoption of best practice and promotion of horticulture to the community. The award is presented every two years with the beneficiary receiving $10,000 and the ability to undertake a study tour domestically or abroad. This may take the form of a technical conference, short course, grower exchange or many other exciting and informative options. The results of which will be communicated back to the Australian almond industry. In accepting the Award Dean advised the Conference Delegates that he felt very honoured to be the 2011 recipient of this industry Award which also carries with it a prize of $10,000. “It is a privilege to receive this award in honour of Phil Watters who’s dedication and hard work contributed significantly to
Hall of Fame Australian Almond Industry
The Almond Board of Australia recently recognised that occasionally we should stop to consider the contribution people make to our industry. This industry has developed and come a long way over the last fifty years and many people have contributed to these changes. Importantly, many of course continue to do so. Industry needs these people, needs their vision, their courage, their support. Without them it will neither develop as quickly nor as well. In 2011 four people were chosen to be publicly recognised for the significant contribution they have made in transforming a fledgling industry into the modern, vital and proactive force that it has become. In different ways they have all helped lay the foundation stones for today’s industry. Some have provided direction; have pushed the boundaries, taken calculated risks in trying new
techniques, new technology, new varieties and even quite new growing areas. Some have been instrumental in developing infrastructure, whether processing or marketing, that allowed the industry to both expand and to remain competitive. Some helped keep the industry focussed and cohesive and assisted through providing advice to others or serving on committees. All, in their own way, have helped make the industry what it is today. The official presentation to the Almond Industry Hall of Fame recipients and their families was made during the Almond Conference Dinner on Thursday, October 27th. Each family involved received a framed copy of the inductee’s achievements and a copy of the DVD played during the night.
Johnston Prolific, Pethick Wonder and B2. In the early years, Fred didn’t water the trees at all, but later sank a bore and used portable aluminium pipes with sprinklers attached. In 1963, Fred retired from the army and became a full time orchardist and over the years more land was purchased in the Angle Vale area to grow almonds. Keane’s nursery started in 1966, growing almond trees and even small amounts of special varieties that growers ordered and supplied their own budwood. Fred had two areas of personal interest in almonds: mechanising the industry and the nursery. After a trip to California in the early 1970s, Fred became convinced that mechanical harvesting was the way of the future, and organised a syndicate of local growers to purchase a set of harvesting equipment. This was the start of mechanical harvesting in the Northern Adelaide Plains area. There were many initial problems to be overcome mainly stemming from trees and orchards being trained and spaced to suit hand harvesting and not mechanical. Department of Agriculture, Fred was influential in bringing a range of new varieties and rootstocks into Australia for testing at the old Northfield Research Centre. One of the rootstocks, Bright’s Hybrid, proved important for the almond industry, in Working with Brenton Baker and David Cartwright from the
Fred Keane was born in 1918 and grew up surrounded by almonds. In the early 1900s, Fred’s father, Albert Keane, grew almonds along the Sturt Creek at Marion, South of Adelaide. Pethick Wonders, Johnston Prolific and Chellaston were their main varieties. Harvesting was done by hand with sheets on either side of the tree and limbs hit with sticks to remove the crop. This was a part-time enterprise as Albert used to worked full time at the brickworks and Fred and his brothers helped with the harvest. They used to crack their crop by hammer sitting around the kitchen table and in the early years of Fred’s own orchard, cracking was still done by this method. Just after World War II, Fred leased 3 acres of almonds from his father at Marion which started his career in the almond industry. Fred and his wife Lesley then purchased land at Angle Vale in 1953, and because there was no water on the property grew their own trees at Marion for the new orchard. They planted 30 acres of Papershells, Strout, Chellaston,
particular the Northern Adelaide Plains area due to its salinity tolerance. Fred was a founding member of the Almond Improvement Society, which put in place the foundations for the successful and crucial budwood scheme that underpins the genetic quality of the trees grown and planted today. Fred was also a committee member on the Almond Co- Operative at Edwardstown and during his time on the committee and afterwards, he visited as many growers as he could each year to provide advice regarding the growing of almonds. He was an inaugural member of the Northern Adelaide Plains Almond Group in the 1970s, and held monthly meetings at his property which was always available for industry trials and was frequently used for field days. Fred’s knowledge of almond varieties in Australia has been of considerable assistance to the varietal research program undertaken at the Waite Institute. Fred was also a member of the Almond Trust Fund Advisory Committee between 1977-1982.
Eric Lacey Australian Almond Industry
first almond pick-up machine. The visit also provided an opportunity to build relationships with the University of California extension service and in particular Don Rough.
In 1975, Don Rough visited Australia for a three month sabbatical. This and two subsequent visits from Don, followed by other extension
officers, have led to a great two way flow of information between California and Australia. Following the visit to California, Eric became
had been developing since his first visit to California in 1961. Eric was Chairman of Lindsay Point Almonds from 1972 to 1982 and also Chairman of Lindsay Point Hulling Syndicate, the hulling and shelling facility that subsequently grew and transformed into Laragon. In parallel with his deep involvement in the development of production technology and systems, Eric maintained a strong interest in marketing and as a result, joined the board of management of Co-operative Almond Producers Ltd in 1954 and became chairman in 1957, a position he held for 25 years. Eric believed strongly in stable marketing and grower unity. For thirty years he worked to try to achieve these goals and expand the Australian industry. These extraordinary achievements were publicly acknowledged in the Queen’s Honours List of 1982 and subsequently he was awarded an MBE. Probably the most apt description of Eric’s involvement with the almond industry is to say that it was one of his passions in life - one to which he devoted great energy and thought.
involved with the Greenways Irrigation Scheme in 1962 and in 1963 planted almonds at Nildottie. This was the first attempt to use Californian methods for irrigated production of almonds in Australia. This was in many ways a watershed development for the Australian industry. It demonstrated the potential of the new
Eric Lacey came to the industry in the early days of its move to the Willunga region. In 1945, Eric and wife Barbara planted 40 acres, ‘The Home Block’. This planting consisted of mainly the Australian varieties Chellaston and Johnston, plus Nonpareil and some hardshell called Biggs which avoided weevils prior to the availability of fumigation.
technology and provided other growers with the confidence to expand along the River Murray to take advantage of it. In 1969, Eric was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research further the industries in both California and Europe, particularly Spain. That study trip provided an opportunity to investigate aspects of nutrition, better pollination, the latest U.S. and Spanish varieties, harvesting machinery and processing and blanching equipment. Some
of this equipment was imported and later made under licence in Australia. Following his trip to California and Europe, Eric was keen to find a large property and develop an almond project that was more productive even than the Nildottie property. The result of this was Lindsay Point Almonds. Indeed, Lindsay Point was the fulfilment of a vision Eric
By the end of the 1960s, Eric had expanded the plantings at Willunga to around 90 acres. However, by that time his great interest was in irrigated production and the potential of large scale mechanised farming systems. He and Barbara visited California in 1961 to investigate current research and irrigation practices, pollination, mechanical harvesting and large-scale plantings. They stayed in Chico where they met many growers, including Herman Fortier, who helped invent the
Hall of Fame Inductees 2011
the industry. Many areas were investigated including shothole control, varietal clone selection and general management. Ross’ work in the nursery led to an interest in almond varieties and he spent much time in the selection of superior clones, and one of his selections of Nonpareil was tested at Roseworthy Agricultural College and ultimately found its way into the clonal trial run by the industry
Spurred-on by the potential of the Riverland, Ross was one of three growers to start the Lindsay Point almonds project under the chairmanship of Eric Lacey and in combination with Colin Jarrett. The growers worked properties for investors, which enabled the project to begin. Son Paul was employed as the Lindsay Point project commenced. In 1976, Ross sold the Willunga property to enable Tom and Jan to move to Lindsay Point, where they purchased 100 acres next to Paul. Over the years, Ross did much to support the industry and raise its profile. He was passionate about almonds and while at Willunga he started almond blossom tours on his property. The funds raised benefiting the Willunga High School. This concept developed into the Willunga Almond Blossom Festival. Ross was the inaugural chairman of the Festival and the Festival was such a success it raised the funds to build the Willunga Recreation Area and the stadium.
Born in 1922, Ross Martin first entered the industry after returning from the war in 1946. At this time, Ross started a nursery and progressively started planting almonds at Willunga with his father, Frank. Over the next few years, extra property was purchased and in time their almond plantings expanded 110 acres.
at Jubilee almonds. By the 1950s, orchard machinery was advancing and the Martins replaced their orchard spray pump mounted on a small tanker trailer with a new ‘Shearer Mister’, one of the first air blast sprayers in the district. The only irrigation water available was pumped from a creek on the property when it flowed in good seasons. The trees responded very well after a trial watering so the Martins put a bore down and watered more of the orchard using drag lines and sprinklers. As the family expanded, so too did the property, with eldest son Tom and Gerald being employed at Willunga. The property was one of the first to be fully irrigated, with Ross working to overcome problems and frustrations that early irrigation design and technologies brought. Initial attempts to secure a reliable water source with dams were frustrated by pervious soils causing leaks. The solution was to bring water from a bore a mile away
through fibrolite pipes. The irrigation designer failed to factor in the pressure increase due to the downward slope of the property resulting in burst pipes. None the less, the system was eventually made to work and typically provided at least a 50% boost to yields.
Ross became involved in almond research and worked closely with John Moss and later Brenton Baker from the Department of Agriculture to help overcome production issues within
Australian Almond Industry Hall of Fame Inductees 2011
Johnson and two of their own varieties selected for yield and nut quality. While the Parkinson’s Willunga property varied in soil type from very stony to poorly drained, the trees produced some good crops despite the fact they were not irrigated. It wasn’t until 1977 that a bore was put down to a depth of 120m, that the trees were first irrigated.
Along with other growers in the early years, the orchard floor was cultivated regularly, but when harvest machinery came into the picture and weedicide became available, management of the orchard floor changed to a slashing and weed spraying regime. In the early days, the crop was harvested by rubber mallets and long sticks, and the nuts were knocked down onto canvas sheets beneath the tree. Two men dragged the sheets and tipped the contents into a trailer and when a load was collected, it was taken
lime light. All good committees require active and willing members, and it is this support that John consistently provided. In 1953 John joined the Almond Cooperative and became a committee member assisting the reforming of the Cooperative in 1957, when Eric Lacey became Chairman. John served on the committee for over 30 years until 1986, preparatory to the forming of Almondco. John was also very active at regional level, serving on the committees of both the Willunga Basin Almond Growers’ Association and the Southern Group of Almondco for many years. His ongoing support was instrumental in making these organisations the important and cohesive groups they were, doing much to raise the profile of the almond industry in Willunga. Well known for his genial personality and sharp sense of humour, John is well regarded as one of the industry’s ‘characters’.
Born in 1922, John Parkinson was involved with almonds from an early age when he assisted his father, Geoffrey, plant the first almond orchard at Warradale in 1936. After serving in the RAAF for six years, John married Celine in 1947 and soon after established an almond orchard at Dover Gardens. However, John’s
back to the shed for drying. This was done by spreading the nuts onto sheets on the ground. If the weather was damp, the nuts were spread out on drying racks. The family replaced the trailer with a bigger almond boat which was made from the base of an old caravan. The Parkinson’s were always inventing new equipment to make the job easier and the original almond boat was later replaced with a steel one. In later
years when harvest was mechanised, the family invested in a F.M.C Shaker.
expansion plans were frustrated when the Housing Trust purchased that land, and they looked for a new property at Willunga, purchasing 20 acres and later another 10 acres. These blocks had previously been planted to almonds, so the trees were mature and bearing. The varieties in the original planting were Chellastons, Johnson Prolific, White Brandis and Biggs hardshell, however when it came to replanting the orchard, the Parkinsons planted Somerton,
John was involved in his 50th almond harvest in 2002 and was active in the orchard well into retirement, continuing to take an active interest in the family property, managed by son, Tim. He was always industry minded, quietly contributing time and effort over the years, although often avoiding the
Brett Rosenzweig - Industry Development Officer In The Orchard
The growing conditions this season have been much kinder than last year. Even though harvest is just around the corner, the following are a couple of topics to consider over the next few months.
• Rainfall outlook. The season has been mild with only average rainfall events; enough to maintain the importance of fungicide programs but not to worry about flooding events. The Bureau of Meteorology’s latest Enso wrap-up indicates that La Nina conditions increased during November, peaking in January and lasting until the end of summer. However the La Nina
an advantage in their control of rust last season. These were: Ground speeds of 5kph or less, Water rates on mature trees greater than 1,500 L/Ha Ability to react to weather conditions promptly and modify the spray timing,
number of times they can be used during the season as they are single site chemicals that if used incorrectly can lead to resistance. • Spray coverage trials. The ABA
together with Geoff Furness has started undertaking some spray coverage trials. Geoff has an extensive background at SARDI researching
A mix of chemicals; including Propiconazole and Strobilurin in addition to Mancozeb and
spray coverage in various crop canopies and the efficiency of the machines used to apply the spray mix. Geoff’s work led to the development of the SARDI fan which is now commonly used on multi-head machines in citrus and vines. We have collected leaves and fruit from trees sprayed with a fluorescent dye which is then visually assessed using a ‘black light’ to give a coverage rating. Three types of machines have been tested to give a benchmark of the practices most commonly used in the industry. Further testing will be done in 2012
pattern is not expected to be as strong as last year and may be more prevalent in the east and west coasts of Australia. The map below (@14-11- 11) indicates an average to below average amount of rainfall for the December to February period in the majority of almond growing areas. For further information visit the BoM’s website: www.bom.gov.au/ climate/enso
www.bom.gov.au/ climate/ahead/rain_ahead.shtml • Disease pressure. This season
to see if the rate of coverage can be improved. This will be followed by some field days in late 2012. For further information contact: Brett Rosenzweig Industry Development Officer Almond Board of Australia P 08 8582 2055 or 0429 837 137 E: email@example.com
Chlorothalonil, Good defoliation from the previous season i.e. no carryover leaves in winter. • Chemical choice. A selection of chemicals that can be used for control of rust and other fungal pathogens is listed below including their rates, limits of use and with-holding periods. The Strobilurin’s (Amistar and Cabrio) and Propiconazole have limits on the
saw the conditions suitable for the development of rust early in spring. This was primarily due to the presence of carryover spores from last year’s leaves infecting this year’s new foliage. While some rust was observed in orchards, it has not continued to progress into a wide scale problem as it did last season. There were a few crucial factors that gave some growers
Limit of use
550g/Ha (Amistar WG)
3 / season
1.1L/Ha Amistar 250EC
3 / season
2 / season
1 week before harvest
4 / season Not after hull split
Don’t Be A Drifter
Brett Rosenzweig - Industry Development Officer
some products can drop the pH too low (destroying the viability of the chemical) and others may not hold the chemical solution at the correct pH for long enough. Agribuff and Primabuff are examples of two products that do buffer pH in water correctly. • Water hardness (water high in Mg & Ca ions) will also reduce the efficacy. Mg 2+ or Ca 2+ will bind to two Glyphosate - ions, directly reducing the amount of active Glyphosate in the tank mix. The addition of Ammonium Nitrate to hard water will allow the NH 4+ to bind to the Glyphosate - ions (while still allowing plant uptake) leaving the NO 3- to volatilise. • Water turbidity needs to be addressed as both Glyphosate and SpraySeed will bind to soil particles in water, again reducing the active amount of chemical in the tank mix. • In order to minimise any coverage problems in either a foliar or herbicide application, a tip is to alternate the direction of travel down the row each time an operation is carried out. Instead of starting at the same point in the orchard and travelling down the row in the same direction each time, alternate the direction of travel. The feedback from participants in all the workshops was the information was practically informative and able to be easily integrated into their daily practices. It is important to remember to conduct some of your own trial work when changing from current practices. This will allow an accurate assessment of what works and what does not.
• The mode of action of herbicides and the way they react to the surrounding conditions. Glyphosate is best applied when there is good plant uptake i.e. sunny daytime weather. When Glyphosate is applied at night, the rain fast period needed is extended until the next morning and therefore subject to rain or dew affecting uptake. SpraySeed is best applied during overcast or shady conditions. The presence of direct sunlight will cause the ingredients to be activated. In overcast or dark conditions (at night) the chemical will have more time to enter the plant tissue before it’s activated, hopefully resulting in a better rate of kill. Be careful when spraying at night to avoid inversion layers that can result in off-target crop damage. • Delta T is still important when choosing when to weedicide as it’s an indication of droplet longevity. It is also important to consider the presence of inversion layers. Wind conditions may drop in the evening - early morning and the Delta T may be favourable but if it is too calm, an inversion layer may exist causing off- target crop damage. • Craig stressed the importance of getting water quality correct i.e. water hardness, high pH and high water turbidity. Since most growers are using higher rates of water/Ha, any problems with water quality will exacerbated. • Glyphosate’s effectiveness is best at a pH of 3.5, with a pH of 7 or above reducing the efficacy. Even rainwater will need to be buffered for pH. Care should also be taken when choosing which product to use for buffering pH as
The remaining two ‘Don’t Be a Drifter’ workshops were held in Griffith and Angle Vale on the 14 th and 28 th , November respectively. Once again the workshop was presented by Craig Day from Spray Safe and Save. Craig covered the same topics as the first two courses held in 2010 but also added some new and up to date information. The information presented aimed to encourage attendees to review their application methods and modify them when greater efficiencies could be achieved. A number of new key points were raised during the workshops and are summarised below: • Most herbicide labels now recommend specific water rates and nozzle selection e.g. Glyphosate labels recommend a nozzle producing coarse droplets and water rates of 80 to less than 200L/Ha. • Some herbicides are formulated with enough wetter up to a maximum water rate. Above this, extra wetter should be added e.g. PowerMAX has enough wetter up to water rates of approximately 70L/Ha and should have extra wetter added if the water rates are higher. SpraySeed has enough wetter up to water rates of 200L/Ha but beyond this, extra wetter should be added according to the label. • Care should be taken when adding wetters. Don’t add oil based wetters to most herbicides. Oil based wetters, especially when using Glyphosate and air induction nozzles, will exclude air from the chemical droplet and therefore alters the way the droplet lands on the target and its effectiveness to enter the plant. Non-ionic wetters are best to use.
Left, Below & Right: Images from the recent ‘Dont Be A Drifter Courses conducted in Griffith and the Adelaide Plains
R&D Roundup Ben Brown - Industry Liaison Manager
As the Australian almond industry continues to expand it presents immense opportunities, but conversely some significant challenges. Brett Rosenzweig and I are predominantly responsible for industry development across the ‘Pre-Farm’, ‘On-Farm’ and ‘Post Harvest’ parts of the value chain (Figure 1) . One may ask, what is industry development? Well HAL defines it as “the process of informing and empowering those in horticulture to make better business decisions” , so as another year goes flying by it is a good time to summarise the key activities that have occurred during the last 12 months.
Pre-Farm The Almond Board of Australia (ABA) was successful in applying for Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) of three European rootstocks . The ABA has a good relationship with many of the European prunus breeders and institutions and as a result imported these rootstocks which are peach x almond hybrids and are reported to comprise all the advantages of GF677, plus the additional benefits of easier nursery propagation and root knot nematode tolerance. These rootstocks have been released from Australian quarantine and will be included in a rootstock trial to be planted in winter 2013 and encompass 17 rootstocks. The ABA also has access to several varieties through its European and Californian relationships. Many of the recently released varieties from Spain are in the process of, or have already been imported. Those already imported have been planted in a trial for commercial evaluation and are now in their 3 rd leaf and will produce their first crop in 2012. Californian varieties have also been planted and have now reached maturity and undergoing more detailed
The industry’s regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) trial with DPI Victoria is in its 3 rd season and as a result the experimental treatments are becoming more noticeable. A field day is being planned for early 2012. To continue investigating optimum nutritional requirements of almonds, several activities have been undertaken. A survey of leaf tissue analysis was conducted with the results summarised in a recently released Fact Sheet. The Fact Sheet proposes the utilisation of critical values for October, November and December sampling, and a new set of critical values for January. Brett Rosenzweig has also undertaken a survey of fruit nutrient analysis over the last two seasons and will be producing a Fact Sheet on fruit nutrient composition (i.e. uptake) and crop nutrient removals. This Fact Sheet will be published following the 2012 harvest. The CT Trial has been finalised with the final report and excel management spreadsheet published. As a supplement to the CT Trial, two Fact Sheets have also been published, summarising the findings of soil solution nutrient c omposition trial conducted by SARDI.
evaluation. Field days and fact sheets on these evaluations will be made available as more information comes to hand. As well as evaluating overseas rootstocks and varieties, the almond industry has its own varietal breeding program conducted by Dr Michelle Wirthensohn. After many years of primary crosses between suitable parents, the project is approaching an exciting period of secondary evaluation. The first trees selected for secondary evaluation will be coming into their 3 rd harvest in 2012, with another group of trees currently in their 2 nd leaf and more trees for planting in winter 2012. On-Farm There have been several advances in the on-farm activities. Some of the key activities include the commencement of a pollination efficiency R&D project with CSIRO which aims to answer the age old question, how many bees do we need? Once this is known more accurately, the project will begin investigating the best practices and methods to attain the best bee activity in our orchards, for example beehive placement and manipulation.