Processing Archives - West Coast Nut



Putting Almond Waste to Good Use

Make electricity from almonds trees? Convert almond wood waste into a biopesticide? Those are intriguing business plans put forth by two new companies that aim to remove wood, shells and hulls from the waste stream and put them to beneficial use. Eric McAfee of Aemetis Inc., a renewable fuels and biochemical company, and Mike Woelk of Corigin Solutions LLC, an organic ag solutions company, laid out the science and the business plans for their technology endeavors at an Almond Industry Conference session in December. Their common goal is to divert wood waste and end open burning of orchard waste. Aemetis is using new technologies to produce advanced fuels as replacements for traditional petroleum-based products. They are converting first-generation ethanol and biodiesel plants into advanced bio refineries to produce zero emission fuels which also reduce carbon impacts of transportation. Energy from solar, wind, hydroelectric and nuclear all reduce emissions of greenhouse...

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Cal/OSHA Releases Revised Draft Nighttime Lighting Standard for Agriculture

In April of this year, Cal/OSHA (California Occupational Safety and Health) held a public hearing to consider specific requirements for lighting standards for working around agricultural equipment at night. The proposed new standard entitled “Outdoor Agricultural Operations During Hours of Darkness” was a result of a request by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) submitted to the Cal/OSHA Standards Board in 2013 claiming they had investigated a number of accidents occurring in agriculture during nighttime work activities, including serious injuries and one fatality. In reviewing the information, it was determined that these accidents occurred primarily in the early 2000’s when mechanical grape harvesting at night started to take off. There were no accidents after 2005. Labor group proponents for the changes testified that “rampant sexual harassment and poor farmworker eyesight were the drivers for the changes. However, they changed their story this year when the hearing was heard...

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New Outlooks for Hull and Shell Management Options Using Biosolarization

Managing Almond Hulls and Shells
Almonds are American’s favorite tree nuts by far1, but what many consumers do not realize is that the kernel we eat is only 27 percent of the nut. The majority of the almond nut—the hull and shell—is a byproduct. It is estimated that 1.6 billion pounds of shells and 4.5 billion pounds of hulls are co-produced with kernels annually, a number that is only expected to increase as more almond trees are planted in California2. Despite being inedible, hulls and shells are resources in their own right. The hull—similar to the flesh of other stone fruit like peaches and cherries—is rich in sugars and is used in dairy cattle feed, and the fibrous woody shell is used as animal bedding. Despite this, novel management options are needed as almond production outpaces demand for feed and bedding. Confronted with this problem, University of California (UC) Davis...

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CSU Fresno Developing Tree Nut Hulling/Processing Course for Students

You may recall, in your previous life of schooling, having to sit through riveting science lectures. Lessons often centered around the makeup of cells within our bodies, or the fundamentals of chemistry might come to mind. While most of us can be thankful that we have yet to be tested on these past lectures, what if there were labs and lectures tailored specifically to helping students familiarize and understand the tree nut hulling and processing industry? Students at CSU Fresno (Fresno State) will soon have that opportunity. Tree Nut Industry Classes Over the past year, staff with the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA), along with WAPA’s Board of Directors, have been meeting with Fresno State representatives to discuss opportunities within the tree nut industry. From research opportunities within the industry, to internship/work experience positions available for students, Fresno State has made a concerted effort to connect with the industry. Through...

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Almond ready to be processed

Another Record Breaking Almond Crop Predicted for 2019

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) releases two almond reports every year. The first is the subject report based on opinions from randomly selected California almond growers throughout the state by a phone survey conducted in April and May. NASS’s objective report provides a more precise estimate on yield based on actual almond counts and measurements gathered from over 850 orchards statewide that includes the weight, size and grade of the average almond sample broken down by growing district and variety. The 2019 subjective report was released in May, and for the second year in a row it is predicting a record breaking almond crop. According to the NASS, California almond orchards are expected to produce 2.50 billion pounds of nuts this year, an increase of 8.69 percent over the 2018 2.30 billion-pound crop. NASS’s objective report will be released on July 3, 2019.  ...

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