by DPI Victoria and CSIRO. The Food Safety project has just commenced and will aim to identify key contributing factors and critical control points, and develop an industry-wide strategy to minimise Aspergillus moulds that may produce aflatoxin contamination. To assist the industry in controlling CM, an Emergency Use Permit (EUP) using a selective, IPM friendly insecticide has been applied for. It is expected this chemical will be available for spraying at early hull split. Minor Use Permits (MUP) have also
Following the previous wet harvests, pest and disease control has become a priority. A Fact Sheet on almond rust was recently published summarising an earlier R&D project by SARDI. In addition, spray coverage and dosage is being investigated with the leading researcher in this area, Geoff Furness (ex SARDI). Geoff has completed preliminary investigations of several spray machines (i.e. single fan PTO, double fan PTO, engine driven sprayers) and water rates using fluorescent pigment and droplet ratings. Both leaf and fruit have been rated for coverage and dosage, at different canopy heights and orientations. The results will be circulated to industry via Fact Sheets and field days early next year following a more complete analysis, but based on the early assessment it is safe to say, significant improvements exist – in water rates, water rate calculations, existing machinery setup and new machinery developments. All almond growing regions have just received the ‘Don’t be a Drifter’ course (see page 17), which among other topics, educated growers on optimum spraying conditions, nozzle selection and drift reduction – particularly with regard to weedicide applications. A consultancy by CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences was also undertaken in 2011 to educate the industry on managing mice and their relationship to food safety risks. Field days for the worst affected regions were organised in 2011, and a Final Report and Fact Sheet have just been published. Carob Moth (CM) has become a significant challenge in several orchards, potentially leading to reduced product quality if not controlled. CM injuries provide an entry point for mould or could potentially be acting as a vector for mould spores. CM is being investigated as part of the Almond Food Safety project being conducted
Bob Curtis (Almond Board of California) & Ben Brown (Almond Board of Australia)
techniques and reviewing alternative machinery; storing, aerating and drying whole harvested almond fruit; proof of concept and feasibility of ‘on-farm’ de- hulling; primary and secondary processing to minimise kernel damage, maximise out- turns, increase throughput and maximise efficiency; properties and alternative uses of almond waste (i.e. husk and shell); and alternative methods of assessing product quality to encourage point of cause improvements. In preparation for the ‘Super Project’, preliminary R&D has begun with the School of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Australia and discussions held with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney. In addition to these activities, international collaboration has continued to prosper with visits to California and Spain in May. In response, Richard Waycott (President & CEO) and Bob Curtis (Associate Director of Agricultural Affairs) of the Almond Board of California, visited Australia and presented at our annual conference at the end of October. Discussions were held around collaborative work such as market access, R&D and health benefits. In January 2012 there will be a delegation of 10 visitors from Spain visiting the Australian almond industry, include researchers and almond co-operative extension officers. It has been a busy 2011 and on behalf of Brett and myself I would like to thank the almond industry and its stakeholders for your continued support, willingness to co- operate, and desire to improve. If you have any queries about the activities undertaken this year or the publications that resulted, please contact Brett or myself.
been applied or renewed for the use of azoxystrobin (e.g. Amistar), propiconazole (e.g. Tilt) and phosphorus acid (e.g. Foli-r- Fos) in controlling various fungal pathogens of almonds. Post Harvest 2011 saw the inaugural meeting of the industry’s Processing Committee . The Processing Committee was the last remaining Strategic Sub-committee and joins the Plant Improvement Committee, Production Committee and Marketing Committee. This Committee’s role is to direct whole of industry efforts to add value in the processing of almonds by improving quality, more cost efficiently meeting quality specifications, and maintaining Australia’s high product integrity reputation. The Committee will act as a reference group for R&D projects investigating processing efficiency, quality assurance and food safety issues and provide advice to the ABA, the Almond Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) and HAL with respect to future R&D activities. The post harvest sector (on-farm and
off-farm) has also attracted a lot of interest in R&D following the previous wet harvests. With the need to maintain and improve product quality, an Advanced Production Systems workshop was held and as a result, a large ‘Super Project’ is being prepared to investigate: phenology of fruit maturation and windfalls; unmanned orchard vehicles for spraying, herbiciding and mowing, drones for bird scaring, improved harvest
Adult Carob Moth ( Apomyelois ceratoniae )
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