This research project supported investigations by three PhD students at the University of South Australia and was supervised by Agricultural Machinery Research and Design Centre (AMRDC) staff, Professor John Fielke and Dr Chris Saunders.

The project focussed on the following areas: improved cracking of almonds, effective aeration and dehydration of bulk almonds in silos, bunkers or sheds, and effective hulling of almonds in-field and during processing.

Branch of almond fruit

Improved cracking of almonds

This work aimed to provide new processes to 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.

Effective aeration and dehydration of bulk almonds in silos, bunkers or sheds

This work aimed 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 were improved and thus will permitted the earlier storage of almonds with higher moisture content and potentially avoid destructive rains during the harvest period.

Effective hulling of almonds in-field and during processing

This work aimed 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 can 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.

Project funding

This project was funded by Horticulture Australia Limited  (HAL) for five years (2012 - 2017).

For further information, please contact John Fielke or Chris Saunders.