This projects supports investigations by three PhD students at the University of South Australia (under the supervision of John Fielke and Chris Saunders) on the following topics:
1. Improved cracking of almonds: This works aims to provide new processes that will reduce the damage done to kernels and hence increase recovery of undamaged kernels, thus reducing losses, improving the appearance of shelled almonds and permitting better machine vision sorting of defects such as insect and pest damage.
2. Effective aeration and dehydration of bulk almonds in silos/bunkers/sheds: This work aims to provide models of air flow and hence moisture movements through stockpiled almonds that may be in-hull, in-shell or kernels. Using airflow to effectively aerate the almonds, the storage conditions will be improved and thus will permit the earlier storage of almonds with a higher moisture content and potentially avoiding destructive rains during the harvest period.
3. Effective hulling of almonds - in-field and during processing: This work aims to provide designs and operating parameters for equipment to be used both on-farm and in factory to condition and remove hulls from almonds. As hulls make up 50% of the almond mass and contain many nutrients, hulling at the farm prior to stockpiling will reduce nutrient costs if they are returned to the orchard, reduce storage costs as only half of the mass of product needs to be stockpiled and likewise reduce transport costs.
This project is funded by Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) for five year (2012 - 2017).
For further information, please contact John Fielke or Chris Saunders.