Partnership. For us, it combines pioneering with understanding farmers’ minds.We listen to farmers’ needs and willingly share our pioneering assets. We support our partners with global logistics, flexible product availability, extensive know-how and advanced marketing programs. As partners, we face challenges together for mutual growth and success.
A U S T . A L M O N D C O N F E R E N C E SPONSOR 2012-2014
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT YOUR HAIFA TEAM Trevor Dennis , Managing Director E: email@example.com M: 0400 119 852
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:
Circulation: With a circulation of more than 650 and readership of over 2000 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.
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. Advertising/Editorial The Almond Board of Australia (ABA) acknowledges contributions made by private enterprise through placement of advertisements in this publication. Any advertising and/or editorial supplied to this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the ABA and unless otherwise specified, no products and/or services are endorsed by this organisation.
Publisher Almond Board of Australia 9 William Street, PO Box 2246 BERRI SA 5343 t +61 8 8582 2055 e firstname.lastname@example.org w www.australianalmonds.com.au 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.
• 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 email@example.com
EXECUTIV E update As we commence with managing our 2015 crop, we can look forward to strong global prices remaining in place as a result of the terrible challenges being faced by US growers. Of concern is the report of significant orchard loss, both of trees and also next year’s crop, as buds to generate their 2015 crop have been impacted. in 2014. With regard to managing this nutrition requirement well, the research of Patrick Brown on in season analysis is a valuable source of knowledge. The regional meetings also provided a gauge of what is strong grower support for an Australian Almond Centre if the funding
The strategy adopted by many of our growers during the height of our prolonged drought of removing older less productive trees has also been to the fore in California, and in some instances this severe water saving strategy has been forced onto younger orchards. Based on our experience of the length of time it takes for some stressed orchards to recover, the effect on global production may be felt for years after the rains and snow return to America’s west. This challenge to world supply comes during a period of growing consumer awareness of the wide usage ideas for almonds in various forms and the nutritional benefits of consuming almonds on a regular basis throughout the week. The health benefits of almonds continue to be proven as research and clinical trials reveal the more nuts consumed the greater the gain in areas of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and respiratory disease. These findings are helping almond sales to be more price resilient than might be expected, during a period when almond prices have risen over 50% in the past 18 months. The ABA is taking a leading role in educating Australians of the health benefits of almonds whilst the International Nut Council and the Almond Board of California lead the way in the global sense. The increase in price, growing consumer awareness and broadening usage of almonds in new products such as almond milk indicates the demand for almonds is being limited by supply. The impact of the drought on Californian production is clear, but what has not been as readily identifiable is why 2014 production in most Australian orchards is well down on 2013. Reports collected first hand from growers during the ABA’s June round of regional meetings indicated a wide range of results. Some growers had similar tonnages to the previous year whilst others had their poorest harvest yields from mature trees ever. Reports of reductions in crop of 20% were not uncommon. The latest crop estimates provided by industry marketers has the 2014 Australian crop pegged at 65,000 tonnes, a 12% reduction on the 2013 tonnage. This 12% loss of tonnage industry-wide is a concern, but it is even more of a concern given the industry’s initial estimates anticipated a substantial growth in crop size as the industry’s orchards continue to mature and fill the row space. An industry wide discussion forum has been held following the regional meetings facilitated by Ben Brown, the ABA’s Industry Development Manager. A few things that struck a chord amongst a myriad of contributing factors is that trees on hybrid rootstocks coped better with the prolonged heatwave and those that adjusted their fertiliser programs during the heavy 2013 crop fared relatively well
arrangements are acceptable. The Centre proposal is based on major and minor orchard research sites being established in the Riverland and Sunraysia depending on State Government funding support. The meetings provided guidance for the ongoing discussions with South Australian and Victorian governments as the offers of both are put together for the consideration of the Centre Committee and the ABA Board. The support and efforts for the Centre by government ministers, local members and departmental staff in both states has been appreciated as numerous funding options have been explored. The assistance of the industry members sitting on the Almond Centre Committee is also valued and again highlights a strength of our industry. Along with the voluntary contribution of over 40 industry participants, they have provided guidance not only to the programs and projects undertaken by the ABA staff, but also to the industry’s R & D priorities which feed into the Horticulture Australia funding system. The monitoring of research being undertaken by the Committees also adds value to projects undertaken by all researchers. The ABA AGM and Conference will be held on October 29-30 at Glenelg. In addition to an interesting line up of Australian presenters, Richard Waycott and Tim Birmingham from the Almond Board of California will present, as will Californian researchers Jim Adaskaveg on disease control and Neale Williams on pollination. Early registration for this increasingly popular event is recommended and appreciated.
Neale Bennett Chairman
Ross Skinner CEO
Marketing Matters Joseph Ebbage Market Development Program Manager
Positive Sales Results The domestic sales of Australian almonds have grown solidly over the first four months of our marketing year with a 15% increase for the period over the same time last year. This was driven by particularly strong sales growth in March and April. From an export perspective, the ABS statistics for the financial year to the end of June 2014 show an extraordinary increase in both sales volume and value. The Australian Almond Industry exported 65,956 tonnes of almonds in 2013/14 worth $468 million. This was 78% of all Australian nuts exported in the period.
Qualitative Research in Indonesia Indonesian direct imports of almonds from California are very small within the global almond market. However, an earlier Australian almond industry visit to Jakarta in 2013 for Food & Hotel Indonesia, highlighted that the almond snack packs sold in Indonesian supermarkets were manufactured in other parts of Asia and imported into Indonesia. Examples included the Camel and Tong brands of nut snacks. The true sales volume of almonds in Indonesia is not known. The evolving socio-demographic structure of Indonesia supports the view that there is the potential to develop a significant almond market. The Indonesian department of statistics estimates that the highest-wealth segment - the A class - is approximately 10% of the total population. Given a total population of 240 million people, this translates to 24 million peopole, which is more than the entire Australian population. The key objectives in conducting qualitative consumer research in Indonesia were to evaluate if there were any significant consumer- based barriers that would negate these structural advantages. Given the importance of evaluating the Indonesian consumer response to the taste of almonds, qualitative research was the most appropriate methodology. Roy Morgan’s Jakarta team were engaged to recruit, conduct and report on the focus group discussions and taste-testing. These groups were held from May 5 to 9, 2014. Four almond samples were taste-tested: dry roasted almonds; roasted and salted almonds; smokehouse-flavoured almonds and honey-roasted almonds. Overall, there did not appear to be any significant consumer barriers to entry for Australian almonds into Indonesia. This includes any perception that almonds principally come from California. The key taste outcome was that the taste of almonds did not represent a consumer barrier. The majority of participants found a flavour-type or types that they enjoyed. There appears to be a matrix of opportunities for Australian almonds into Indonesia involving the two key consumer drivers of taste and health as well as two major retail categories, namely the Salty Nut category and the Fresh Produce category. The International Nut Council’s annual Congress was held in Melbourne from May 20 to 22. The Australian almond industry participated through an exhibition booth to provide the 860 delegates with an update on our 2014-15 crop. It should be noted that 750 of these delegates were from outside Australia. The Almond Board of Australia also hosted a delegation of customers, principally from India, to a tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground with a networking event at its conclusion. Domestic Marketing Update Educating health professionals remains a core part of our domestic marketing program for the Australian almond industry. We seek to influence these key influencers by presenting the latest nutritional information at major health professional conferences and through Promoting Australian Almonds during the INC Congress
ALMONDS - Total
Jul- Jun Chg LY
Value (M AUD)
$ per kg
Almond kernels (shelled almonds) accounted for 68% (A$318m) of the value of almond exports and lifted 147% due to a combination of a strong increase in both the volume exported and the unit values per kilogram.
ALMONDS - Shelled YTD Chg LY Volume (tonnes) 39971 75% Value (M AUD) 318.01 147% $ per kg $7.96 41%
The United Arab Emirates was the leading single destination whilst Europe led overall by region. Almonds in shell accounted for 32% of the almond exports worth A$150.3 million and 25,986 tonnes (actual unconverted).
ALMONDS - in Shell
Jul- Jun Chg LY
Value (M AUD)
$ per kg
India was the leading destination accounting for over 88% of the almond in shell exports and which increased 83% over the previous year.
Export Market Development Update There were two export marketing activities conducted during the June Quarter: a qualitative consumer research project in Jakarta and an Australian Almond Exhibition during the International Nut Council’s annual conference. Both of these activities took place in May.
almonds, particularly in the Middle East, which is a crucial market for Australian almonds. We engaged a food bloggist from Dubai to contribute a couple of almond recipe ideas that we featured on our website and facebook pages. We also had some Australian Muslim bloggers contribute their ideas as well. Developing our ability to have a conversation around almonds and Ramadan will be important as we work towards growing the ‘Australian Almond’ brand within Asia. In August, our focus has been on advertising the natural beauty of our blossom season. The imagery speaks powerfully of Australian almonds as ‘naturally healthy’. It also helps connect our consumers with our growers and orchards. Again, these themes are communicated via our website and facebook pages. At the end of June, we promoted Australian almonds at the Sydney Good Food Show. This is one of Australia’s largest consumer food expos. We distributed over 3000 samples of dry roasted almonds. As these almonds were freshly roasted, we attracted an overwhelmingly positive reaction. The on-going mission for our Australian almond marketing program is to work with our wholesalers and retailers to develop new packaging and supply chain innovations that deliver that great taste of freshly roasted almonds in-store.
follow-up education packs that feature our 30gm almond snack tins.
During the last quarter, we exhibited at the annual Fitness Expo in Melbourne, the Sports Dietitians Biennial Conference in Adelaide and the Dietitians Association of Australia’s (DAA) annual conference in Brisbane. The Fitness Expo and Sports Dietitians conference were held in April and the DAA conference was held in May. Over the course of these exhibitions, we communicated our message to more than 3000 health professionals. From a consumer perspective, we advertised during May and June, the taste and nutritional benefits of our almonds via print magazines, online and product sampling. Our advertising targeted consumers interested in a healthy lifestyle. The publications selected to carry our advertising were the ‘Mens Health’ and ‘Womens Health’ magazines. We also advertised with the Fitness First gyms group utilising their magazines, in-gym digital displays as well as offering 20,000 of our heart-shaped snack tins via a sampling program in Brisbane and Melbourne. In June, we appointed the Fireworks PR agency to assist with our social media and PR activities. We are utilising our consumer website – www.amazingalmonds.com.au – and our facebook site – www. facebook.com/australianalmonds - to promote new recipes ideas and our health and nutrition message. During July, as a way of linking our domestic and export marketing programs, we ran our first set of recipe ideas and stories around Ramadan. This is a very important time for the consumption of
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Stamford Grand Hotel, Glenelg, South Australia October 28-30, 2014 16th Australian Almond Conference
Early Bird Registration Closes
October 3, 2014
HOSTED BY: The Almond Board of Australia
SUPPORTED BY: Horticulture Australia
PLATINUM INDUSTRY SPONSOR: Haifa Australia
Stamford Grand Hotel, Glenelg, South Australia October 28-30, 2014 16th Australian Almond Conference
Join us for the 2014 Australian Almond Conference!
Almonds are now Australia’s largest horticultural export industry, and we have surpassed Spain to become the second largest global producer of almonds, behind the United States. We are pleased to announce that the 16th Annual Australian Almond Conference (AAC), from 28th to 30th October 2014 will be held at the Stamford Grand Hotel in Glenelg, with the Gala Dinner to be held at the Morphettville Racecourse. This year’s Conference will include presentations by respected researchers and experts focussing on the entire supply chain from both a domestic and an international perspective. Speakers will address issues of industry interest; from pollination to promotion and product quality to price prediction. The congress is the one event attended by everyone in our industry – from the growers who do the hard yards on our farms to the many industry partners who continue to help us maintain our position as Australia’s number one horticulture export industry. It is also a time when we hear from, as an industry, leaders and decision makers from Government and across the broader agriculture sector. Growers and delegates will go away with, not only a thorough understanding of the industry’s research activities but also the wide ranging efforts to further develop our industry; from production through to processing and onto the marketing of our largest ever almond crop. We look forward to announcing our international speaker line-up in the coming months. A ‘must attend’ event on the industry calendar, this Conference is the largest gathering of almond industry representatives in Australia. It brings together over 200 Australian and international delegates, with participants including growers, processors, marketers, researchers, industry suppliers and other interested persons. The Australian almond industry has come a long way in a short period of time. With a forecast record crop of 78,600 in 2014, almonds are Australia’s fastest growing horticultural industry, servicing an expanding domestic market and major export markets in India, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the Middle East. The AAC has become renowned for the value it adds to our industry and we can assure you that our 2014 event will carry on this fine tradition. For more information on this year’s Australian Almond Conference please contact the ABA Office on +61 8 85822055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Trade Show The AAC is the perfect platform to connect with new suppliers and strengthen relationships with existing suppliers and network with industry peers – basically it is the perfect setting to discover and learn about new brands, products and services!
Welcome Reception - 28th October An invitation is extended to all delegates to attend the Welcome Reception to be held on the evening of Tuesday, October 28. Our Welcome Reception has become well known as a great opportunity to relax and enjoy the company of your fellow Conference delegates .
Conference Gala Dinner - 29th October Morphettville racecourse (South Australian Jockey Club) is situated only 15 minutes from the CBD, 5 minutes from Glenelg and features 25 hectares of picturesque gardens, fabulous wetlands and panoramic views of the Adelaide Hills. The versatile and unique location boasts floor to ceiling windows with unhindered panoramic views of the Adelaide Hills.
Economic Impacts on Australian Horticulture Mark Soccio
Tuesday, October 28th
Panel: Almond Enterprises of the Future
Food Safety in Focus - The US Experience Tim Birmingham Aspergillus - A Threat to Crop & Reputation Dr. Chin Gouk Cool Dry Almonds - Storage Solutions Michael Coates Australian Almond Conference Dinner Including the Almond Industry Hall of Fame Induction Thursday, October 30th Carob Moth - Eating Your Profits David Madge Carpophilus Beetle - A Hungry Pest Dr. Mofakhar Hossain Biology & Management of Almond Diseases Prof. Jim Adaskaveg
Wednes day, Octob er 29th
Almond Board of Australia AGM
Annual Levy Payers’ Meeting Dr. Greg Buchanan, Stuart Burgess Horticulture Australia Ltd Review John Lloyd Official Conference Opening Hon Andrew Robb AO MP Brand Australia - A Meaty Topic Peter Barnard Go Nuts for Nutrition Dr. Sze Yen Tan The Global Market - A Californian Prespective Richard Waycott Market Development - The Australian Way Joseph Ebbage
PANEL: Insects Causing Serious Damage
Bird Damage - Interaction with Ecosystems Dr. Peter Spooner Rootstocks and Nematodes Peter Clingeleffer Integrated Pollination in California Assoc. Prof. Neal Williams Almond Pollination - Impact of Varroa Mite Dr. Saul Cunningham BeeSecure - Surveillance for Varroa and More Daniel Martin, Sam Malfroy Orchard Productivity - A Population of Spurs Dr. David Monks Almond Sensitivity to Salt Stress Tim Pitt Phil Watters Award Report James Callipari
Panel: Almond Markets of the Future
A Word from our Platinum Sponsor Trevor Dennis - HAIFA Agriculture - The Profits in Precision Dr. Rob Bramley Robots in the Orchard Prof. Salah Sukkarieh
Hulling and Shelling - Impacting the Boundaries Assoc. Prof. John Fielke, Dr. Maryam Shirmohammadi Better Trees for Aussie Growers Dr. Michelle Wirthensohn Almond Orchard Productivity R&D Program Ben Brown
Panel: Almond Orchards of the Future
Prof. Jim Adaskaveg Professor of Plant Pathology - University of California Jim’s research includes investigations on the biology, ecology, epidemiology, and management of diseases on tree crops grown in California. Specifically, his research focuses on the epidemiology and management of foliar diseases caused by fungal and bacterial tree pathogens.
Assoc. Prof. Neal Williams Associate Professor of Entomology, University of California Neal’s work ranges from basic research in bee biology and pollination to applied research on native bee conservation and crop pollination. Neal is working to develop native plant mixtures to bolster populations of the honey bee and wild bee species and promote sustainable pollination in different agricultural systems.
The Conference Organisers reserve the right to amend this program, please visit www.australianalmonds.com.au/industry/conference_2014 for updated program details
Stamford Grand Hotel Glenelg, South Australia October 28-30, 2014 Sponsors & Exhibitors
A A C 2 0 1 4
Platinum Supporters & Exhibitors
Silver Welcome Dinner
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With data available 24/7, Plexus helps you replace guess work with certainty. To find out more about how we can help you grow smarter call us on 08 8332 9044 or visit mea.com.au.
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BeeAware how to boost crop yields with honey bee pollination
A wide variety of crops are known to benefit from pollination by honey bees and BeeAware , a new site from Plant Health Australia, explains exactly how growers can gain maximum benefit from these helpful insects. According to Rod Turner, PHA’s Risk Management Manager, BeeAware is a comprehensive resource with a dual purpose. It helps beekeepers to keep hives healthy and helps farmers to understand the yield benefits that pollination by honey bees can bring. “The importance of pollination is often poorly understood. Pollen can be moved by various means, including wind, birds and other insects. But honey bees are the most important insect pollinator for a range of cultivated agricultural and horticultural crops,” said Mr Turner. “At the BeeAware website, farmers can find out how to boost yields by placing hives of honey bees near production areas. Crops that see the largest benefits include almonds, cherries, avocados, melons blueberries, some vegetables including onions, legumes, oilseeds, apples and macadamias.” Mr Turner said that wild bees pollinate a lot of crops at the moment, but should an exotic pest such as varroa mite gets through border controls and become established in Australia, their numbers would drop and with it, crop yields. Some, but not all, crops depend on pollination to get good yields of fruit or seeds.
“Our strong biosecurity system has so far protected us from many of the pests of bees that have hit hives hard overseas. But pollination experts agree that if one of these pests should make it into the country, farmers will increasingly need to use commercial honey bee pollination services.” Existing pests like small hive beetle, which are uncontrolled in wild bee populations, already reduce pollination of crops in some areas. The site includes information on how beekeepers can manage them to keep apiaries healthy. The site was developed by a partnership between the Australian Government, the honey bee industry and pollinator-reliant industries through the Pollination Program which is managed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Horticulture Australia Limited
Visit the BeeAware website at www.beeaware.org.au
For more information, contact Cathy Frazer on 0423 000963 or at email@example.com
Plant Health Australia (PHA) is the national coordinator of the government-industry partnership for plant biosecurity in Australia. As a not-for-profit company, PHA services the needs of its Members and independently advocates on behalf of the national plant biosecurity system. PHA’s efforts help minimise plant pest impacts, enhance Australia’s plant health status, assist trade, safeguard the livelihood of producers, preserve environmental health and amenity, and support the sustainability and profitability of plant industries and the communities that rely upon them. www.planthealthaustralia . com.au
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Brett Rosenzweig - Industry Development Officer In The Orchard In this edition of In The Orchard, I have taken an extract of the spring leaf sampling article written by Patrick Brown et al. The extract covers the principles behind optimum fertiliser application and a new methodology to monitor tree nutrient status in spring and the ability to change nutrition programs in-season. Changes have been made to convert from imperial measurements and Northern Hemisphere dates to metric measurements and Southern Hemisphere dates. The full article will be released as a fact sheet before the end of September.
The Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for converting spring leaf sampling values to January leaf sampling values will be released with the full fact sheet at the end of September 2014.
Please note this leaf sampling research is based on Californian growing conditions and needs to be verified for Australian growing conditions. Please exercise a degree of caution if making major changes to your nutrition program.
Thank you to Patrick Brown for his permission to reprint the article.
Almond early-season sampling and in- season nitrogen application maximises productivity, minimises loss Protocol for early-season sampling and in-season nitrogen budgeting Authors: Sebastian Saa Silva, Saiful Muhammad, Blake Sanden, Emilio Laca, Patrick Brown (UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County) Background Efficient and profitable nitrogen (N) application demands that N be applied at the right rate, with the right timing and in the right location, so that productivity is maximised and the potential for N loss to the environment is minimised. The goal of N management is to apply adequate but not excessive amounts of N. You cannot enhance orchard productivity by providing N in greater amounts than is demanded by the crop. With proper management, optimal productivity and minimal N loss can be achieved simultaneously. To help growers achieve the goal of efficient and profitable N application, a new method of tissue testing and yield-driven fertilisation has been developed. The following approaches are based on four years of research at multiple Californian sites and were validated in additional trials in 2012. Right rate For mature almonds (> 7 years), nut yield in the current year is the primary determinant of N demand. The amount of N that will be removed from the orchard for a given yield ranges from 50 to 75 kg N per 1,000 kg of kernel yield, depending on the N status of the tree. In four years of experimentation at multiple Californian sites, the ideal N removal rate averaged 68 kg N per 1,000 kg of kernel yield. This removal rate corresponds to maximal yield and optimal use of N resources, and coincides with a whole-fruit N% of 1.8%. (Note: This conversion stated as kg of kernel also factors in the N
removed with shells and hulls to equal the “total fruit” N removal). Higher fruit N removal rates (>68 kg N/1,000 kg kernel) occur when trees have received N in excess of demand. The amount of N required for vegetative growth in a yielding tree is small in contrast to that required by the fruit, and averages 22 to 44kg/Ha per year in orchards with 70% or greater orchard light interception. The amount of N required (from fertiliser or other amendments) is determined by crop size (yield x 68 kg N per 1,000 kg kernel yield) less N supplied from water and other N sources including manures, composts, nitrogen-fixing cover crops, etc. Previous N applications in excess of crop N removal can also enhance soil and tree N reserves, thereby reducing current fertiliser N demand. Our ability to estimate the contribution of soil N supply to orchard N demand is limited due to the extensive rooting depths of tree crops and complexities in determining the rate of N availability. A general guideline suggests that if soil nitrate exceeds 10–15 ppm, then N fertilisation can be significantly reduced. Leaf tissue analysis in October provides information on the general availability of soil N and tree reserve N, and can be used to adjust in-season fertilisation (described below). In-season monitoring and N rate adjustments In the N management approach proposed here, growers establish a preseason N fertilisation plan (rate and in-season distribution), based upon predicted yields and N contributions from manure and other sources. October tissue sampling and early-season yield estimation are then used to optimise the annual N fertilisation plan by adjusting the November-through-December and/or fruit maturity/postharvest fertilisation rates accordingly. In years of lower-than-expected yield with adequate October tissue N analysis, a reduction in mid-season N fertilisation is suggested, while higher-than-expected yields might require an increase in N applications. The goal of this approach is to ensure N fertilisation rates are more closely matched to individual orchard productivity in the current year.
Right timing Efficient fertilisation and N management require that crop nitrogen demand is satisfied, and N is applied coincident with root uptake. The dynamics of N accumulation in annual tree structures (leaves and fruit) and perennial tree structures (roots, trunk and branches) were determined in a series of experiments conducted in high- yielding orchards throughout California from 2008–2012. The pattern and rate of N uptake from the soil can be derived from analysis of N accumulation in fruits (hulls, shells and kernels) and leaves, and N depletion and accumulation in perennial organs (trunk, branches and woody roots). In the period from dormancy (July) through early leaf-out, the tree depends almost entirely upon N that is remobilised from perennial organs, and essentially no N uptake occurs from the soil. Following flowering, during the period of leaf and fruit expansion, uptake from the soil commences while remobilisation of N from perennial tissues continues. During the period from full leaf expansion until early hull split, tree N demand is satisfied entirely by soil N uptake. Following fruit maturity (hull split), tree N demand and root uptake decline rapidly, and stop completely as soon as leaves commence senescence. While fruit is developing, the rate of soil N uptake (kg per hectare per day) is directly determined by the yield of the tree. The demand for N to supply new tree growth in a mature orchard (>7 years old) is small in comparison to the demand of the fruit, and current estimates suggest it does not exceed 44 kg per hectare per year in a mature orchard. Nitrogen in flowers, leaves and perennial storage N is predominantly provided from internal and soil N recycling and, hence, does not contribute to annual fertiliser N demand. Theoretically, N fertiliser should be applied at a rate and timing that are coincident with the demand curve by using very frequent or even continuous fertigation. Frequent fertigation with smaller amounts of N ensures soil N concentrations are always adequate for plant Ross Martin 1922 - 2014 The ABA were saddened to hear of the passing of one of our Hall of Fame inductees, Ross Martin. Ross was inducted in 2011 for his support and passion for the Australian almond industry over many years. Ross first entered the industry in 1946 after returning from the war where he started a nursery and planted almonds at Willunga with his father, Frank. This property was one of the first to become fully irrigated with Ross working to overcome problems and frustrations that early irrigation design and technologies brought. Spurred-on by the potential of the Riverland, Ross was one of three growers to start the Lindsay Point almonds project. The growers worked properties for investors, which enabled the project to begin. Over the years, Ross was involved in almond research and industry development. He also worked to raise the profile of almonds and while at Wilunga he started almond blossom tours on his property. This concept later developed into the Willunga Almond Blossom Festival. The ABA would like to express our sincerest condolences to Ross’ family.
uptake while reducing the periods of high N concentration that may be subject to leaching loss in subsequent irrigation or rainfall events.
The challenge of retaining N in the root zone is greatest in orchards grown in light-textured soils, particularly where water moves below the root zone due to rainfall or irrigation management, or under conditions that develop a restricted root distribution. In these situations, it is very important to minimise the amount of residual N in the profile prior to leaching events (water application or rain greater than root zone soil-water holding capacity). Irrespective of the irrigation or fertigation system available, at least 80% of nutrients should be applied during the active tree growth period commencing in early spring (after leaf-out begins) and continuing through early hull split. An additional 20% of annual fertilisation can be provided through early postharvest while leaves are still healthy. However, this decision should be made based upon the current-year yields, prior N fertilisation rates and January leaf N values. Since yield estimates will not be available before mid- to late October, the primary opportunity for in-season fertilisation rate adjustment is the period from late October - December and postharvest. An October yield estimate coincident with receipt of an October leaf analysis can be used to adjust fertilisation rates for the remainder of the year to ensure efficient fertilisation strategies.
To optimise the use of N fertiliser in almonds, fertilisers must be delivered and present in the root system when they are most likely to be used by the plant. Nitrogen in the soil moves easily with irrigation water, hence the application of N in a large single dose during times of limited plant growth exposes that N application to movement below the root zone. Smaller applications applied frequently and
Top: Ross out in the orchard. Bottom: Ross (front left) with his wife, Rosa, and three sons (back left to right) Paul, Gerald and Tom at the 2011 Australian Almond Conference where he was inducted into the industry Hall of Fame.
size. In the majority of California orchards, this corresponds to mid-October. Should sampling at this date not be possible, then please note the date of sample collection on the sample bag. • Collect leaves from 18–28 trees per orchard. Combine all leaves in a single bag for submission to a reputable laboratory. EACH SAMPLED TREE MUST BE AT LEAST 30 METRES APART. A minimum of 100 leaves per sample bag is required.
timed with periods of plant demand limit the potential for N loss. The uniformity of your irrigation system will define the uniformity of N application. If portions of a particular orchard differ significantly in soil characteristics or productivity, it may be necessary to subdivide the fertigation system to meet site-specific water and fertiliser demands, or to consider applying a portion of the annual N demand in a site-specific ground or foliar application. Leaf sampling The current practice of sampling leaves in January is too late to allow for current-season adjustment of fertilisation practice, and leaf sampling alone does not provide sufficient information to make fertiliser recommendations. An improved method of leaf sampling and fertilisation management has been developed that utilises October leaf sampling and yield estimations to predict N demand and to allow for in-season fertiliser adjustments. Protocol: The following leaf-sampling method recognises that growers generally collect one combined leaf sample per orchard, and is effective in orchards of average variability. If the orchard to be sampled has substantial variability, then the sampling protocol should be repeated in each zone, and N should be managed independently in each of zone. Management of N in each zone can be achieved through separation of fertigation systems or by supplemental soil or foliar fertilisation in high-demand areas. Efficient management of N requires that every orchard that differs in age, soil, environment or productivity should be sampled and managed independently.
• Send the samples to the lab and ask for a FULL NUTRIENT ANALYSIS (N, P, K, B, Ca, Zn, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, and S).
For Sale PTO Air Blast Sprayer - $11,000 inc GST • Air-O-Fan GB Sprayer • S/S 1000 US Gal tank • 35 1/4” steel fan • Centrifugal pump • Solid unit, all new nozzles and swirls, ready to use These guidelines are based upon extensive research conducted in four high-yielding orchards across California from 2008–2012, and as such are thought to be representative of good growing practices. The applicability under all growing circumstances, however, cannot be predicted with certainty, and grower judgment remains critical. Summary These techniques have been validated only for the Nonpareil variety in orchards that are at least 8 years old. If other cultivars are used, please note which cultivar was sampled on the sample bag. Method development for other cultivars is under way. However, this current approach will result in valuable information for any cultivar, as cultivar-specific nutritional requirements likely do not vary significantly. Repeat for all orchards and orchard regions that differ in productivity, age or soil type. Identify your areas of low performance, and collect samples from them independently. Label all samples well with collection date, field number and cultivar with field location if needed. Please note if foliar fertilisers have been applied.
For each orchard/block or sub-block that you wish to have individual information on, do the following:
• Sample all the leaves of 5–8 non-fruiting, well-exposed spurs per tree at approximately 43+/-6 days after full bloom when the majority of leaves on non-fruiting spurs have reached full
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Ben Brown - Almond Board of Australia Dave Monks and Karl Sommer - Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Victoria 2014 Crop Review
developed over two seasons and the reasons for the low 2014 crop are likely to exist not just in the 2013/14 season but also the 2012/13 season. The development of yield involves three important stages (Kester et al, 1996) and is discussed in the context of the two seasons.
The 2014 crop is currently estimated at 65000 tonnes, 17% lower than the initial opening season estimate (based on its plantings database and yield matrix) of 78,251 tonnes. This is the third of the last four crops that have been below expectations with total farm gate losses estimated to be in excess of $270 million (Table 1). What’s particularly disappointing with the 2014 crop was not just that it was down on estimates, but it was down 12% on the 2013 crop of 73361 tonnes with approximately 10488 ha still to reach full maturity (trees ≥ 8 years of age). There should have been an increase on the 2013 crop based on orchard maturity alone. The degree of crop reduction was widespread but variable, some growers experiencing only a small reduction, whilst others experienced a severe reduction in crop. An industry meeting was facilitated by the ABA in July to discuss the reasons behind the lower than expected 2014 crop. The meeting was well attended by 23 participants and the following key points were discussed and raised for consideration.
1. Establishing bearing potential The entire first season (in this case the 2012/13 season) establishes the bearing potential of the second season (2013/14). This stage consists of active spur and shoot growth, vegetative bud development and floral bud development. Establishing the bearing potential occurs by firstly having an adequately sized canopy to provide an upper bound; secondly by maintaining adequate return bloom from existing spurs; and thirdly by producing new floral positions from new spur and vegetative growth. The upper bound of bearing potential is best measured using light interception where research (Lampinen, 2013) indicates the maximum potential production from traditional almond orchards is approximately 56kg/ha per 1% light interception, or 5600kg/ha. In reality, 100% light interception is not achievable nor recommended. Research indicates light interception should not exceed 80% (equivalent to a maximum potential production of 4500kg/ha) to optimise drying of harvested fruit and reduce food safety risks. It appears not enough Australian orchards are near the recommended 80% light interception, either due to: immature canopies; trees missing following the wet 2010/11 season; excessive pruning, particularly of immature canopies; or the canopy size is too variable. On a whole of industry basis, the grower meeting indicated trees that died following the wet 2010/11 season may not have been communicated to the ABA, and consequently not removed from the ABA industry yield estimates. The ABA will contact growers to confirm the acreage provided in the annual survey. The likelihood of return bloom is important and positively associated with the preceding season’s leaf area per hectare (Lampinen et al,
Almond is a perennial horticultural tree crop in which yield is
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Table 1: Australian almond harvest estimates versus actuals, 2011-2014.
55,605 65,336 73,008
2012 2013 2014
2011). The large 2013 crop may have been a result of a high number of fruit per spur and excessive carbon demand, thereby hindering the development of floral buds and return bloom for the 2013/14 season. Management options to alleviate this excessive demand is not well known but at the risk of generalising, it’s likely to be associated with adequate light interception and spur nutritional status. The excessive carbon demand may have also restricted the development of new vegetative spurs and floral buds, and this development may have been better served by demand driven water and fertiliser programs rather than calendar driven programs. Concerns were also raised with several growers practising deficit irrigation leading into harvest, as this period coincides with floral initiation and next season’s (2013/14) bearing potential. This was thought to be a risky practice as most orchards are planted on variable, low water holding capacity soils (sand) with drip irrigation. In many instances, particularly with a large 2013 crop, trees or even orchards may already have been stressed and this practice may have created further unwanted stresses, negatively affecting floral initiation. Furthermore, drying of the rootzone may have also made it difficult to re-establish soil water content in time for post-harvest fertiliser, leading to high electrical conductivity in the rootzone and unsuccessful plant nutrient uptake, again negatively affecting floral initiation. Deficit irrigation should be practised with caution and with the highest control. If deficit irrigation is to be practised, soil water monitoring, pressure bombs and confidence around accurate water applications are critical. The opportunity to manage a canopy for maximum year on year production is the focus of five new almond R&D projects. 2. Establishing reproductive potential The beginning of the second season (2013/14) establishes the quantity of nuts. This stage is driven by flowering, pollination and fertilisation. Some of the issues encountered in the 2013/14 season that may have reduced yield were: hull boron concentrations often lower than the critical thresholds (Nyomora et al, 1997); variable beehive quality; and sub-optimum hive placement strategies. Consequently, growers should focus their attention on: soil applications of boron supplemented with foliar sprays ground truthed by hull sampling; robust beehive auditing to ensure standards are being met; and beehives placed more evenly through the orchard to ensure optimum fruit set (Cunningham, 2014). Adverse weather conditions and inadequate management may also have compromised maximum fruit (pericarp) growth potential and limited kernel size. Again, demand driven water and fertiliser programs are essential. 3. Establishing weight potential Kernel weight is established during the second season (2013/14); beginning with kernel development, followed by dry weight accumulation. This stage is the final challenge in producing an adequate crop. The demand for resources through this stage is particularly high and is the major sink for water and nutrition. Crucially, this stage of highest
demand may have been negatively affected by high temperatures during December, January and February, leading to stomatal closure, and a decline in transpiration and carbohydrate production. Some growers reported it was difficult to meet plant water use demand due to inadequate irrigation capacity or possibly inefficient and variable system performance. Nutrient applications during the early part of this stage may have also experienced the same fate. Practising deficit irrigation at hull split to reduce hull rot was discussed and was again thought to be a risky practice as was the case with pre-harvest stress. As discussed earlier, deficit irrigation should be practised with caution and with the highest control. In addition to the factors discussed above, several other key issues were discussed by the group: • Nemaguard rootstock did not produce an adequate return crop following a heavy crop and clonal hybrid rootstocks performed better. • Non-Infectious Bud Failure (NIBF) of Carmel was raised as a serious impact with reports the 2013/14 symptoms were the most severe experienced. • Hull rot was also discussed with importance, with many growers indicating Nonpareil is continually being affected by spur decline in the lower part of the canopy where symptoms are greater. • The combination of hull rot and poor shaking efficacy was of particular concern due to the fruit being grown but not harvested. Those who re-shook, particularly Nonpareil, reported figures of approximately 300kg/ha of kernel. • Price yield was variable, not just between orchards but also within orchards. • The inability to manage rain at harvest made it difficult to harvest all the crop and at a higher enough quality. In summary, there were a myriad of topics discussed and it was difficult to isolate one or two issues that were responsible for the 2014 crop. In order for growers to determine the reasons for their low crop, they will need to examine both the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons in the context of the three critical stages of yield production. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to suggest many orchards have a reduced upper yield bound due to a lack of canopy size and light interception; water and nutrient programmes need to more demand based; and more of what’s grown needs to be harvested.
Kester, D.E., Martin, G.C., and Labavitch, J.M. 1996. Growth and Development. In Almond Production Manual . pp. 90-97. UC DANR Publication 3364.
Lampinen, B. 2013. Shining a Light on Canopy, Yield and Food Safety in Almond , PowerPoint presentation, University of California, Davis.
Lampinen, B., Tombesi, S., Matcalf, S., and DeJong, T. 2011. Spur behaviour in almond trees: relationships between previous year spur leaf area, fruit bearing and mortality. Tree Physiology 33(7): 700-706.
Nyomora, A., Brown, P., and Freeman, M. 1997. Fall foliar-applied boron increases tissue boron concentration and nut set of almonds. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 122(3):405-410.