Articles - West Coast Nut

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What you need to Consider Before Building a Walnut Huller

By Kathy Coatney, Editor

A wet harvest is a concern for many walnut growers. Will I have a home for my nuts or will I be left out in the cold? A major motivation for growers to move into hulling is ensuring their own nuts, according to Bill Carriere, president of Carrier Family Farms in Glenn, California. Carriere farms have been hulling walnuts since 1974. Installing a huller is a big capital outlay, Carriere continued. “Some of it is basically just insurance that you have a home for your walnuts at the time you want it.”   Individual Versus Commercial Roger Isom, CEO of...

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Processing: The Newest in Sorting Machines

By Cecilia Parsons, Associate Editor

Automation, food safety and efficiency are driving forces in nut processing equipment innovation.   Leaders in some of the major walnut processing equipment and systems design companies spoke about some of the changes that have occurred in walnut hulling, sorting and drying.   The process begins right after walnuts are picked up from the orchard floor and delivered to a huller. Unlike almonds, walnuts are not stockpiled due to their high moisture content. They must be hulled and dried quickly to preserve quality. (more…)

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Remote Sensors for Precision Ag at West Hills College

By Terry Brase, West Hills College Precision Ag Instructor

In the previous article of this series, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) were discussed. For all of the attention that UAS get, it is just a piece of the puzzle. First of all the unmanned aerial vehicles are only one type of platform for capturing imagery; there are also satellites, manned flights, and ground based.  Second, platforms are not even the most important part of the puzzle. The imagery that shows how a crop is doing or provides information is the important part.  That leads us this month to the sensors or cameras that are used to capture the imagery. Sensors...

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Technology: Using Electrical Conductivity Sensors to Salinity

By Terry Brase, West Hills College Precision Ag Instructor

West Hills College hosted an Open Farm on October 25, 2017 on the Farm of the Future to demonstrate some of the latest technology. Technology just for the sake of technology will rarely bring benefit. However production or management needs that can be satisfied through the application of technology should be considered. The Farm of the Future tries to incorporate technology we believe to have practical usefulness to growers. Demonstrations at the Open Farm event included: the use of wireless sensors/control network with software to determine power and water efficiencies; use of infrared imagery to determine plant stress and vigor;...

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Ag Tech: Electronic dendrometrics can save water and money

By Len Wilcox, Contributing Writer

This month’s Ag Tech topic came about because a reader wrote us with a request for information.  He wanted to know about the use of dendrometrics in water conservation. We’re very glad he asked, as it sent us down a road that has been very interesting. What’s more important is, we found a new water and nutrient monitoring method that could save growers money.   With recently developed electronic measuring techniques, a high-tech equivalent of the old-fashioned dendrometer is becoming an important tool for hi-tech tree and vine growers. It’s helping them deliver water and nutrients only when the plant...

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Precision Farming: Phone Apps That Help You Farm

By Len Wilcox, Contributing Writer

Whether a person loves them or hates them, cell phones are an integral part of our lives now.  They have become so much more than a phone that we need to find a new name for these devices; cell phone just doesn’t cover it any more.  These are super-computers that put tremendous power right in the palm of our hand.   There’s been an explosion of programs or apps that take advantage of all that computing power.  They put all of the world’s knowledge within reach of anyone who asks for it, at a moment’s notice.  Taking advantage of the...

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