Home' Grower : Dec 2012 - Jan 2013 Contents The South Australian Grower -- December 2012/January 2013
Showcase for almonds
By STEPHANIE GROPLER
THE 14th Australian
Almond Conference held
in the Barossa Valley
recently was a great success with
keynote speakers addressing more
than 200 delegates.
The speakers covered a wide
range of issues from pests and
diseases to new technology and
Dr Michelle Wirthensohn is a
Horticulture Australia Research
Fellow with the University of
Adelaide, the Program Leader of
the Australian Almond Breeding
Program and a member of the
Australian Almond Board's Plant
Her The ideal almond tree -- are
we closing in? paper, highlighted
the breeding program that has
been trialling a cross-pollination
as well as DNA testing, nutrition
analysis and kernel quality.
The aim of the program is to
find superior selections for both
growers and consumers, and
while there are both primary and
secondary evaluations still in
progress, there are seven
selections to be trialled on
While the work is continuing,
the main features of some of the
selections were yield, crackout,
flowering data and kernel quality.
It was noted that self-
compatibility, disease and pest
resistance, har vest timing, high
yielding, hulling and shelling
ease, crackout ratio, kernel size
and minimal doubles were
among the characterises of the
Shell type and sealing were also
noted, however, while it is known
that high oil content is desirable,
just how high was discussed
The seven trees on trial all
possess different qualities for
different purposes, such as -- if
high oil content and long storage
is required, then a particular tree
They were measured on lipid
content, ratio of oleic/linoleic,
unsaturated fatty acids in the
lipid fraction and vitamin E
How many bees do you need? was
presented by Dr Saul
Cunningham, a research scientist
with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
based in Canberra.
He began his research in 1989
with a project into pollination of
banksia, however, now focuses on
crop pollination and has worked
on orchard and broad-acre crops.
Dr Cunningham's presentation
explored whether a high number
of bees was worth the heavy cost
He focused on whether it was
possible to change the number of
hives in use and by doing so,
improve cost efficiency, how hives
should be placed around the
orchard, and if there were
practical tools to improve the
efficiency of cross pollination.
David Madge, a research
scientist at the Department of
Primary Industries in Victoria
gave a presentation on Carob
moth -- eating your profits?
The carob moth is quickly
becoming a pest for Australian
almond growers and becoming a
concern for the industry.
The moth is closely related to
California's worst almond pest,
the navel orange worm, and has
The lar val stage of carob moth
feeds on almond kernels, making
them unsellable as whole kernels
for human consumption, and
increasing their risk of fungal
The moth first raised awareness
in the 1960s, but it has only
become a major threat in recent
times as the almond industry
continues to expand rapidly, and
a few wet seasons have led to
During the 2011-2012 season
there was a project which
monitored carob moth to give an
understanding on distribution
and seasonal behaviour.
Pheromone traps were installed
in almond orchards between
Adelaide and Griffith, and while
the moth population was variable,
it ranged from very low to very
high within same districts.
The first breed of carob moths
were seen in late September and
through to late November, while
the second generation emerged
from mid-December to late
January, meaning there were peak
numbers at the time of hull-split.
Ultimately this is the high-risk
period as hull-split marks the
point at which carob moth can
begin to infest the new crop.
While there was evidence of a
third and fourth generation moth
appearance after February, the
pattern became unpredictable
because of pesticide applications
and low temperatures.
During har vest, only 6pc of
new crop nuts carried carob moth
eggs compared with 16pc of
mummified nuts, which shows
that they are still preferred even
after hull-split in the new crop.
New crop kernels showed
about 2pc chewing damage at
har vest, and a new project has
been planned to gain further
knowledge of the moth and how
to maintain the pest.
The current project will also
obser ve mating disruption and
mummy removal as a
management technique, as well as
optimal timing for pesticide
applications around hull-split.
Trials for the perfect tree
How many bees are needed
Carob moth threat
Communication leads to industry success
WITH almonds currently Australia's
fastest growing horticulture sector,
growers say the success is based
on good communication and
information sharing within the
General manager of Walker Flat
Almonds Peter Cavallaro said the
almond industry tended to deal with
things much more openly.
"I think the industry has figured
out that sharing information
between growers obviously helps
everyone out," Mr Cavallaro said.
"Having an idea of your own
doesn't necessarily mean it's right -
someone else might have tried
something different that has
The Australian Almond Conference
in October was a great success,
with many first time attendees
surprised by the amount of
discussion between growers and
"I spoke to a woman the other
daywho had a display... basically
she said she was just amazed how
we share things, as she has been to
other conferences and people don't
talk to each other," he said.
Mr Cavallaro said the 2012/2013
season was looking to be a
promising one, with only 34 per
cent of plantings in full production
compared with the 2011/12 season.
"With regard to performing, I think
everyone is quite happy with how it
is at the moment," he said.
"The problem with the industry in
the past few years is that it's been
wet, whereas this year is probably
going to be a dry one, so it tends to
put a bit of a smile on."
Mr Cavallaro said that while
communicating helped the
industry's success, it also had
grown up "a fair bit" in the past 10
years or so.
"Obviously the corporates have
come in, and that has made a push
for the industry to grow up a bit
too," he said.
Mr Cavallaro's brother, Australian
Almond Board Adelaide Region
grower representative Domenic
Cavallaro, agreed that the almond
growers tend to look out for each
other within the industry.
"Fortunately the almond industry
is doing fairly well and it shares its
information freely. Considering we
have corporate down to family
farms, it just shows you how
professional the industry is," Mr
-- STEPHANIE GROPLER
been an asset
to all growers.
The cost effective foliar safeguard
against micronutrient deficiency.
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