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Mourlidis C. Athanasios

Mourlidis C. Athanasios

Administrator and editor @ www.bionot.gr

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Peanuts (Arachis Hypogea L.)  or commonly known as legumes or groundnuts, are packed with several health benefits. The nuts contain monounsaturated fats and other nutrients that are healthy for the functioning of the heart. Peanuts are also a rich source of antioxidants such as oleic acid responsible for the lowering of deaths from coronary heart diseases. The resveratrol found in nuts improves the blood flow in the brain and reduces the risk of stroke. Peanut cultivation began in South America dating back to 7500 years ago. In the 1st century, the plant reached Mexico where it further spread to North America, China, and Africa. The peanut is a common crop that can be found all over the world. But the main production countries are the following.

Raw peanuts in metric tones, based on 2017 cultivation year.

1 China 17,150,121
2 India 9,179,000
3 United States of America 3,281,110
4 Nigeria 2,420,000
5 Sudan 1,641,011
6 Myanmar 1,582,693
7 Argentina 1,031,082
8 Tanzania 978,867
9 Senegal 915,000
10 Chad 870,094
11 Greece*      2,800

 

Cultivation  seasons per country.

PlantandHarvMap

China  

China grows more peanuts than anywhere else in the world. The production of peanut in the country contributes significantly to the economy. In China, groundnuts are mainly grown in seven regions according to the ecological zoning. 70% of the nuts are produced in the provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong, Guangdong, and Henan. Household Responsibility of Cultivation System in China has led to an increased production of peanuts due to the incentive of semi-private ownership. The market economy for peanuts has also contributed to the increase in the yield per ha. China managed to produce 17,150,121 metric tons of groundnuts according to FAO. The country accounts for 8% of the world peanut export.

India 

India is the second largest peanut producer in the world. The nuts are produced in different variety including Spanish, bold, and red natal. Groundnuts are primary sources of oilseed crop in the country and bridge the vegetable deficit in the country. The crop is planted in two cycles and harvested in March and October thus making the nuts available throughout the year. In India, the nuts are grown in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. India produced 9,179,000metric tons of peanuts in 2017. The peanut major export destination for India includes Indonesia, Pakistan, and Malaysia.

 

*Greece is in this table for comparing the local market

Argentina’s peanut farmers reduced their plantings over 15% to 20% for the 2018/2019 growing year. The drop comes on the heels of a horrible growing season in the 2017/2018 cycle.

Several factors contributed to the expected decline.
First, poor growing conditions during much of the season drastically reduced yields and farmers’ enthusiasm to plant as many acres. Farmers endured long and excessive periods of wet, cold conditions during key periods.

Due to budget deficits, the government also has triggered export taxes and reduced export refunds.

Beyond that, tighter crop loan availability, discourage growers from planting as many acres as they might otherwise have planned.

Added to that, seed quality is less than ideal. During April and May when seed peanuts have been gathered, the weather prevented farmers from harvesting on time and much of the seed supply went through a prolonged period of excessive rain, saturated soils, high humidity and above-normal temperatures.

Thursday, 22 August 2019 11:42

Why are almonds so expensive?

Almond sales are booming because of their well-advertised health benefits, but could drought in California lead to a world shortage of the nut? It has been likened to a modern-day gold rush. The growth in the popularity of nuts as a healthy snack has seen a boom in business for California's almond farmers. Eighty-two per cent of the world's almonds come from America's Golden State, where it is the leading agricultural export. "Nut crops and almonds particularly have risen in value as the world has realised the nutritional value of eating almonds and how good they are for our bodies," explains David Phippen, a life-long almond grower in the prime agricultural area of central California. Phippen's solar-powered farm is a partnership between five families. It is one of the first in the world to use robots, designed using Nasa technology, to sort good almonds from bad. It is a highly mechanised process with sophisticated irrigation systems in the orchards but, above all, almond production is dependent on the climate.

The region - which is about a 90-minute drive from Silicon Valley - is one of the few places in the world where almond trees will grow.

It has the perfect combination of a cold - but not too cold - winter, which allows the trees to lie dormant, followed by a mild spring that encourages them to wake up and bloom.

Crucially, the trees need about 500-700 hours of dormancy followed by a frost-free period when they burst into life - usually around Valentine's Day.

Farmers like Phippen have responded to the global surge in business - especially from the UK and emerging markets like China and India - by expanding their orchards.

"The value of each kernel has gone up dramatically and growers are looking for the best return on their investment so they're still planting almond trees at an alarming rate," he says. "If you decided to plant an orchard right now, you would wait two years for available root stock to actually plant."

almond plants

The almond has not always enjoyed a positive image.

"In the early- to mid-90s, nuts in general and almonds in particular were felt to be unhealthy because they had so much fat," says John Talbot, vice-president of global market development for the Almond Board of California.

But he says research has shown that the fat content of almonds is a positive attribute.

"It's the good fat, it's not the bad fat," he says, adding that a greater understanding of the positive role of monounsaturated fats has changed people's perceptions.

Good fats, such as monounsaturated fat, have been shown to have a beneficial effect on the body, decreasing the risk of heart disease and improving blood cholesterol. Harmful fats include saturated fats which come mainly from animal sources of food. They can be found in processed foods and have been linked to raised cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease.

In recent years the almond industry has seized on the health-promoting qualities of the nut. Marketing campaigns have resulted in a steady but significant growth in business.

A print and online advertising campaign in the UK in 2012 positioned almonds as the "on-the-go essential snack". A Young at Heart campaign in China focused on the idea of "perpetually feeling good", while mothers in India were fed the message that almonds would help their children succeed in whatever they do. In the US, with slogans like The Crunch That Keeps You In The Game, the Almond Board of California has promoted the "crunch power" of the nut to physically active consumers.

Independent research appears to support the broad claim that almonds are a healthy food choice.

Researcher and registered dietician Dr Michelle Wien has been studying the health benefits of almonds for over a decade. In one study, at the City of Hope National Medical Centre in Duarte, California, Wien discovered that when the nuts were incorporated into a weight-loss programme, dieters lost a greater percentage of their bodyweight than those who did not eat almonds.

"They have a good amount of fibre, they are the highest protein-containing tree nut and my patients reported that they enjoyed the crunch and the chewing of the mastication process when they were consuming the almonds," explains Wien.

She says almonds have the effect of making people satisfied and less hungry for longer. It is a finding that has been observed by other researchers.

In another study, She found that after 16 weeks, individuals who were consuming approximately 43-57g (1.5-2oz) of the nuts per day, had improvements in their bad cholesterol levels.

Wien, who works with diabetes patients, says almonds have qualities that make them a valuable ingredient in a snack.

"Since almonds are high in fat, they will reduce what's called the glycemic index of the snack," she explains.

"If you pair something with a low glycemic index, which would be the almond, with the higher glycemic index food, which would be the fresh fruit or a cracker, then you're going to minimise the rise in blood sugar after the snack."

Buying almonds in bulk makes sense financially. But consumers should be aware that gorging on the nuts is not to be advised. A single 28g (1oz) serving - about 23 whole almonds kernels - contains 160 calories and while each nut carries a powerful nutritional punch, they should be eaten sparingly.

Research suggests that each kernel should be savoured, individually, to realise its nutritional benefits.

One study concluded that an almond should be chewed 25-40 times to optimise its satiability factor. Prolonged chewing of the nut aids the release of nutrients into the body.

The cost of almonds has almost doubled over the past five years. In fact, the crop is so valuable, it has attracted a new breed of thieves. Nut-nappers, as they have become known, have been making off with produce by the lorryload, leaving a hefty dent in the profits of some growers.

A truck piled high with nuts can be worth well over £100,000 ($160,000) and it is a tempting target for the opportunistic thieves. There has been a spate of thefts in recent months, although it is a problem the industry has faced for a number of years.

"Two truckloads of almonds that were processed and ready for shipment were actually taken from our facility by people not authorised to take them," says Phippen.

"When something is worth a lot, there are unscrupulous folks that would like to have it for nothing."

The industry has hit back through increased vigilance among workers on the farms. Over the past year, new checks have been put in place to ensure that freshly processed loads are not stolen from under their eyes.

"We thumbprint and take pictures of the driver, we take pictures of his licence, take pictures of the truck, we document in so many more ways than we used to, so the trust factor is being challenged a little bit and to me that's a little bit sad," says Phippen.

The close-knit industry, with mostly family-run farms, has also developed an online community where word spreads rapidly when nut-nappers are in the neighbourhood.

The local authorities have been successful in tracking down and prosecuting many of the thieves. In a recent case a man was jailed for a year after admitting his role in the attempted theft of almost 20 tonnes of almonds.

The Almond Board of California says the theft of nuts does not pose a major industry-wide problem. A more ominous threat is the growing water shortage in California. The state is suffering its worst drought since records began, over a century ago. There has been very little rain for the past three years and reservoir levels are dropping.

"They're at the lowest level we've seen for this time of the year probably in my lifetime," says Phippen.

"Could we survive a fourth year of drought is the question and the answer is, 'I don't know,' I haven't tried that yet and we just don't know what Mother Nature is going to provide between now and then."

As for the price, there is no sign that nuts will become a cheap snacking option, any time soon. Demand is growing but supplies are limited and the drought could fuel a further short-term increase.

"It's really a matter of supply and demand," says Talbot.

"Compare (nuts) to other foods and they are more expensive than potato chips and more expensive than pretzels. People willing to pay a little bit more because there is a greater nutritional value - it is the perceived value of the product."

Thursday, 22 August 2019 09:23

Hazelnuts May Help Reduce Heart Disease

 Hazelnuts are high in fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin E and minerals such as potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. They are also a source of pantothenic acid, zinc and vitamin (1,2).

And, they may even help to keep your heart healthy! They are high in monounsaturated fat, which may help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease (3).

1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release April, 2018.
2. Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods.
3. Perna, S., Giacosa, A., Bonitta, G., Bologna, C., Isu, A., Guido, D., & Rondanelli, M. (2016).
4.Effects of hazelnut consumption on blood lipids and body weight: a systematic review and Bayesian meta-analysis. Nutrients, 8(12), 747.

 

Nutrient Units Value per 100gr Value per 28gr, 1 oz (1 handful)
Proximates      
Water g 5.31 1.51
Energy kcal 628 178
Energy kJ 2629 745
Protein g 14.95 4.24
Total lipid (fat) g 60.75 17.22
Ash g 2.29 0.65
Carbohydrate, by difference g 16.70 4.73
Fiber, total dietary g 9.7 2.7
Sugars, total g 4.34 1.23
Sucrose g 4.20 1.19
Glucose (dextrose) g 0.07 0.02
Fructose g 0.07 0.02
Lactose g 0.00 0.00
Maltose g 0.00 0.00
Starch g 0.48 0.14
Minerals      
Calcium, Ca mg 114 32
Iron, Fe mg 4.70 1.33
Magnesium, Mg mg 163 46
Phosphorus, P mg 290 82
Potassium, K mg 680 193
Sodium, Na mg 0.0 0.0
Zinc, Zn mg 2.45 0.69
Copper, Cu mg 1.725 0.489
Manganese, Mn mg 6.175 1.751
Selenium, Se µg 2.4 0.7
Vitamins      
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 6.3 1.8
Thiamin mg 0.643 0.182
Riboflavin mg 0.113 0.032
Niacin mg 1.800 0.510
Pantothenic acid mg 0.918 0.260
Vitamin B-6 mg 0.563 0.160
Folate, total µg 113 32
Folic acid µg 0.0 0.0
Folate, food µg 113 32
Folate, DFE µg 113 32
Choline, total mg 45.6 12.9
Betaine mg 0.4 0.1
Vitamin B-12 µg 0.00 0.00
Vitamin B-12, added µg 0.00 0.00
Vitamin A, RAE µg 1 0.0
Retinol µg 0.0 0.0
Carotene, beta µg 11 3
Carotene, alpha µg 3 1
Cryptoxanthin, beta µg 0.0 0.0
Vitamin A, IU IU 20 6
Lycopene µg 0.0 0.0
Lutein + zeaxanthin µg 92 26
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) mg 15.03 4.26
Vitamin E, added mg 0.00 0.00
Tocopherol, beta mg 0.33 0.09
Tocopherol, gamma mg 0.00 0.00
Tocopherol, delta mg 0.00 0.00
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) µg 0.00 0.00
Vitamin D IU 0.0 0.0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) µg 14.2 4.0
Lipids      
Fatty acids, total saturated g 4.464 1.266
4:00 g 0.000 0.000
13:0 g 0.000 0.000
12:0 g 0.000 0.000
6:00 g 0.000 0.000
17:0 g 0.000 0.000
10:0 g 0.000 0.000
18:0 g 1.265 0.359
8:00 g 0.000 0.000
20:0 g 0.102 0.029
14:0 g 0.000 0.000
15:0 g 0.000 0.000
22:0 g 0.000 0.000
16:0 g 3.097 0.878
24:0 g 0.000 0.000
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 45.652 12.942
16:1 undifferentiated g 0.116 0.033
14:1 g 0.000 0.000
18:1 undifferentiated g 45.405 12.872
22:1 undifferentiated g 0.000 0.000
20:1 g 0.131 0.037
24:1 c 1 g 0.000 0.000
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 7.920 2.245
18:2 undifferentiated g 7.833 2.221
20:2 n-6 c,c g 0.000 0.000
18:3 undifferentiated g 0.087 0.025
18:4 g 0.000 0.000
20:3 undifferentiated g 0.000 0.000
20:4 undifferentiated g 0.000 0.000
22:5 n-3 (DPA) g 0.000 0.000
Cholesterol mg 0.0 0.0
20:5 n-3 (EPA) g 0.000 0.000
22:6 n-3 (DHA) g 0.000 0.000
Beta-sitosterol mg 102 29
Stigmasterol mg 1 0.0
Campesterol mg 7 2
Amino Acids      
Tryptophan g 0.193 0.055
Threonine g 0.497 0.141
Isoleucine g 0.545 0.155
Leucine g 1.063 0.301
Lysine g 0.420 0.119
Methionine g 0.221 0.063
Cystine g 0.277 0.079
Phenylalanine g 0.663 0.188
Tyrosine g 0.362 0.103
Valine g 0.701 0.199
Arginine g 2.211 0.627
Histidine g 0.432 0.122
Alanine g 0.730 0.207
Aspartic acid g 1.679 0.476
Glutamic acid g 3.710 1.052
Glycine g 0.724 0.205
Proline g 0.561 0.159
Serine g 0.735 0.208
Others      
Alcohol, ethyl g 0.0 0.0
Caffeine mg 0.0 0.0
Theobromine mg 0.0 0.0

    The cultivation of peanuts in Greece has been moving at an increasingly rapid pace for the past 7 years. After the vertical fall in the beginning of 1990 and following almost 2 decades (1992-2011) of low production, the cultivation of the Greek groundnut returned dynamically and in an impressive way.  

    A decisive role in the contribution of this impressive increase is the conversion of the farmers of the region of Serres to the cultivation of groundnuts.   The project of the company BIONOT, which from 2011, began to encourage and advertise the cultivation of peanuts and later in 2012 to establish a collection and processing unit in the area of Strimoniko Serres, began to yield almost immediately.

    With BIONOT’s advisory guidance to the farmers, supervision, the knowledge of the chain of production and promotion and of course the arable land, the production in Serres Almost tripled within 6 years.

    In contrast to the imported peanuts (mainly China and Argentina), the climate of Greece and the quality of the land of the plains of Serres give high quality peanuts, tasty and retaining unchanged their nutritional properties thanks to the direct processing and distribution in the local market.     In the graph below you can see the ratio of peanut cultivation to the region of Serres ( and the rest of Greece during the years 2011-2016 (graph 1).

Arachis Production in Greece 2011 2016
Graph 1
Data source: www.statistics.gr (Hellenic Statistical Authority)

 

The following graph is the annual analysis of the production of region of Serres from 2011 to 2018 * (graph 2).

Arachis Production in Serres 2011 2018
Graph 2
Data source: www.statistics.gr (Hellenic Statistical Authority)
*Since the Hellenic Statistical Authority did not have posted production bulletins for 2017 and 2018  when this article was created, these years have been calculated either roughly or from data of agricultural cooperatives of the region of Serres.

 

 

In the 2017/18 season, world tree nut production was estimated at 4.2 million metric tons, and it is forecasted to amount to ca. 4.5 million MT in 2018/19, representing a 6% annual growth in overall production (crop figures expressed on a kernel basis, except for pistachios, which are in-shell basis). After overcoming last season shortage, Brazil nut crop is anticipated to experience the biggest increment this season, returning to a normal production of 29,000 MT. The forecasts point to a 21% increment in pistachio and 19% in macadamia total crops, adding up to ca.709,200 and 60,200 MT, respectively. The expected rise in pistachio production is mainly explained by the US is experiencing a strong “on-year” and Turkey bouncing back from a poor harvest the prior season. Pecan and almond crops are forecasted to reach ca. 158,500 MT and over 1.3 million MT; respectively, 10% and 9% higher than those of 2017/18.
 
World peanut production in 2018/19 is forecasted at over 37.1 million MT (in-shell basis), slightly down from the previous season as the top producing countries are expecting lower crops. However, average yield is foreseen to be higher in China owing to increased planting of high-yielding varieties. Harvest outputs in the US are indicating high yields and quality as well.
 
The estimated world production of dried fruit in 2017/18 reached more than 3 million MT and it is forecasted to be risen by 5% in 2018/19, amounting to over 3.1 million MT. In relative terms, table dates, dried grapes and sweetened dried cranberries are expected to register the greatest growth (8%, 7% and 6% respectively).

 

World Nut and Dried Fruit Production 2018/19 Forecast (Metric Tons)
Almonds 1,345,609
Walnuts 889,820
Cashews 823,750
Pistachios 709,188
Hazelnuts 458,616
Pecans 158,481
Macadamias 60,219
Brazil Nuts 29,000
Pine Nuts 21,680
Tree Nuts1 4,496,363
Peanuts2 37,145,000
Raisins, Sultanas & Currants 1,303,600
Table Dates 1,110,000
Prunes 240,049
Dried Cranberries (sweetened) 201,666
Dried Apricots 186,800
Dried Figs 145,900
Dried Fruits 3,188,015

1Kernel basis, except pistachios which are in-shell basis.
2In-shell basis.

Cashew trees grow in a wide range of climates between the latitudes of around 25 ° north or south of the equator. Close to the equator, the trees grow at altitudes up to about 1500 m, but the maximum elevation decreases to sea level at higher latitudes. Although cashews can withstand high temperatures, a monthly average of 27°C is considered optimum. Young trees in particular are very susceptible to frost, and cool spring conditions tend to delay flowering.

Annual precipitation may be as low as 1000 mm, provided by rain or irrigation, but 1500 to 2000 mm is considered optimum. Established cashew trees in deep soil have a well-developed, deep root system, allowing trees to adapt to long dry seasons. Well-distributed rainfall tends to produce constant flowering, but a well-defined dry season induces a single flush of flowering, early in the dry season. Similarly, two dry seasons induce two flowering flushes.

Ideally, there should be no rain from the onset of flowering until after harvesting is completed. Rain during flowering results in the development of the fungus disease anthracnose, which causes flower drop. As the nut and apple are developing, rain causes rots and severe crop losses. Rain during the harvesting period when the nuts are on the ground causes them to deteriorate rapidly. Sprouting occurs after about 4 days of damp conditions.

SOILS
Cashews tolerate a wide range of soil types, but the best growth and production occur in deep, well-drained sands or loams. In deep friable soils, full development of the extensive lateral root system occurs, and the deep taproot system reaches several metres in length and can sustain the tree through long dry seasons. Deep sands, sandy loams, gravelly soils and red latosols have been found to be physically ideal, although the lighter soils require special care with nutrition. Cashews cannot tolerate poor drainage.

Shallow soils give rise to a poorly-developed root system with consequent low drought tolerance and unthrifty top growth. Such trees are easily blown over during the wet season.

VARIETIES
CashewAs self-pollination and open pollination both play a part in cashew seed production, seedlings tend to be highly variable, and no true-to-type varieties are reproduced from seed. However, in some overseas producing districts, generations of growers have selected seed lines that reproduce some characteristics reliably. Many of these lines have been given varietal names.

Selected trees may be reproduced by vegetative propagation methods such as budding or grafting onto seedlings, layering or cuttings.

Characteristics to select for include vigorous growth and good, early fruit set. The nuts (kernel and shell) should weigh 8 to 9 g, with a minimum of 6 g, and have a specific gravity of at least 1.0. Apple colour ranges from bright red to bright yellow. Selections from the yellow to fawn range have been found to have the best resistance to anthracnose and to be associated with the best yield performance.

FLOWERING AND FRUITING
Flowering normally occurs following the growth flush at the end of the wet season, but its timing and duration are strongly influenced by temperature. Flowers are produced at the end of the new shoots. Thus flowers and fruit are borne on the outer extremity of the canopy.

Both male and bisexual flowers are produced, with male flowers predominating for the first month. Pollination is mostly by insects. The flowering season varies in response to the weather and the variety, but it usually extends over 3 to 4 months.

After pollination, the fruit takes 6 to 8 weeks to develop. The nut develops first and the apple fills out during the last fortnight before nut drop occurs. Nut drop continues for 6 to 8 weeks.

In Cairns, the earliest varieties begin flowering in late August and early September and nut drop begins in mid-October. Nut drop continues until mid-January from the latest varieties. The corresponding stages in Cape York Peninsula are about a month earlier because of the warmer temperatures.

Cashew Culture
Until recently, little serious thought has been given to establishing a cashew industry in Australia. Consequently, no research has been directed to the study of the crop, although small plantings have been studied on research stations sited in localities suited to wet tropical crops, but not suited to cashews.

The following comments have been distilled from overseas literature, with suggested cultural methods that should be effective in Queensland.

PROPAGATION FROM SEED
Trees propagated from seed may be grown on to produce the crop, but there will be considerable variability between the trees. Preferably, seedlings should be grown as stocks to be budded or grafted with material from superior trees.

Only sound seed from selected trees should be used to produce seedlings. Further selection is for seed with high specific gravity to ensure a high rate of germination. To select seed with a specific gravity of 1.0 or higher, place the seed in water and discard the floaters. For higher specific gravity and thus higher germination, float off undesirable seeds in a solution of 150 g sugar per litre of water.

Fresh, dried seed should be sown, as the viability tends to decline with age. For field planting, two or three seeds are sown 25 mm deep at each site, and covered with straw mulch. After the seedlings have struck, the weaker ones are cut off at ground level and the strongest seedling is retained.

Alternatively, seedlings may be established in deep planter bags in a nursery. Deep bags are necessary because cashew seedlings rapidly develop a very strong and deep taproot system. Plant one seed in each bag and cover it with 25 mm of potting medium. The seed should germinate within 1 to 3 weeks. The seedlings should be planted out from the bags within 3 to 4 months, otherwise the taproot system is cramped and the planted trees are prone to blow down during wet, windy weather.

VEGETATIVE PROPAGATION
Vegetative propagation of superior trees gives the grower the opportunity to establish desirable clones. Labour costs involved in vegetative propagation are high, but are amply rewarded if effective methods are used. However, considerable research is still required to perfect vegetative propagation techniques.

Air layering (marcotting) produces vigorous young trees, but only a limited number can be taken each year without seriously affecting the parent tree.

Overseas research has found that difficulties occur with vegetative propagation by cuttings, and there is a need for further research. Reasonable results have been obtained from 20- to 30-cm-long cuttings taken from lateral shoots after a growth flush. The cuttings are trimmed to one leaf, dipped in a rooting hormone and three-quarters buried at an angle in an open-textured planting medium. The cuttings are grown in filtered light in a high humidity.

Many methods of budding are used, but the most common is the patch bud, using patches of about 2 cm square cut from current season's shoots. The seedling is budded at a height of 20 to 40 cm above the ground and the stock is cut off about 20 cm above the patch. About 2 weeks later, when the bud has taken, the scion is cut back to just above the bud. Seedlings may be budded when they are 6 to 12 months old. For best results, the scion from which the bud is taken should be the same thickness as the stock. Autumn appears to be the best time for budding in Queensland.

Many grafting methods are used successfully, but cleft grafting is probably the simplest. Best success has been obtained when the seedling stocks are 3 to 4 months old. Autumn appears to be the best time for grafting in Queensland.

Good scion wood for budding or grafting may be difficult to obtain, as growth on mature trees is often thin and gnarled, and the buds are generally close together. Trees selected for scion wood should be heavily pruned, well-fertilised and watered to produce vigorous, straight scion sticks and plump buds. This requires a lead time of 2 to 3 years.

SPACING
The trees are long-lived and spreading, and wide spacings are required. A suggested spacing is 12 x 12 m, giving 70 trees/ha. A closer spacing of 12 x 6 m (140 trees/ha) could be used to maximise early production, but the planting would need thinning to 12 x 12 m as the canopies come together.

FERTILISING
Optimum fertilising would depend on the soil, the climate, and the stage of growth of the crop, but no investigations have been carried out in Queensland. A mango-fertilising schedule could be used as a guide, as the growth and bearing pattern of mangos is similar to that of cashews. However, the economic value of the schedule is not known.

Fertiliser should be applied just before rain or irrigation. This is especially important for urea, which volatilises rapidly if it is not washed into the soil.

While the trees are small, applications should be made under the canopy. As the trees age and the canopies come together, fertiliser is applied in strips in both directions between the rows.

IRRIGATION
Irrigation is necessary to establish the trees, and experience at Bamaga in North Queensland showed that irrigation during the dry season doubled the growth rate of young trees. Small under-tree sprinklers are ideal until the trees are 4 years old.

Because of their deep taproot system, established cashew trees can survive the dry season without irrigation, but premature nut drop is a common problem. While not essential, irrigation could prove to be a major benefit to production, largely by preventing nut drop. However, the economics of irrigation are unknown. For mature trees, application of about 1800 l/tree each fortnight during the dry season would be required. The irrigation system must be placed in a way that does not interfere with harvesting or weed control operations.

PRUNING
After the trees reach about 2 years old, the lower branches are pruned off flush with the main trunk. Pruning is continued to train the tree gradually to develop a skirt high enough to allow access to harvesting machinery after the third year. No other pruning should be necessary. The main leader should be carefully protected from damage by animals or insects. Loss of the leader induces the development of vigorous sideshoots from the lower trunk for up to 2 years, substantially increasing the labour requirement for pruning and training.

WEED CONTROL
Mowing between the rows encourages the development of low grass growth to protect the soil from erosion. While the plants are young, ring weed around them for about 1 m, by chipping or with a surface mulch. Keep the mulch well clear of the trunks. Paraquat has been used successfully to control weeds, but the cashew leaves and green stems should be fully protected from spray drift. New herbicides under test may allow easier weed management in the future.

During harvesting, the nuts are collected from the ground under the trees. Therefore, growth should be mown and raked away from under and around the trees before nut fall begins.

HARVESTING
cashew 1As the nuts mature, they fall to the ground from where they are collected. Because of the protracted maturity time, picking from the tree or shaking the trees to hasten the drop is not considered a viable proposition.

If the apples are to be used commercially, hand-picking from the tree is necessary. The extra labour costs make viable commercial use of the apples unlikely. Once they fall to the ground, the apples dry out within 5 to 7 days during sunny weather. However, because they are falling constantly, there are always wet apples to be disposed of during the harvest. Nuts are swept from under the trees into windrows for collection.

Mechanical harvesters are available which sweep and pick up the nuts in the one operation. Unless it rains, two to four collections are needed during the harvesting season. To prevent the nuts from rotting, irrigation is discontinued between the beginning of nut drop and completion of harvesting. If it rains during the harvesting season, nuts must be collected every 4 to 7 days.

YIELDS
Reports from overseas quote a range of tree yields between nil and 100 kg. Yields of seedling trees vary widely. Other factors responsible for yield variations include:

  • • age and vigour of the tree;
    • number of bisexual flowers produced;
    • effectiveness of pollination;
    • nut weight;
    • pest and disease incidence; and
    • the extent of premature nut drop.

Therefore, site selection, tree selection and effective plantation management are necessary steps towards maximising yields.

In North Queensland, yields of 30 to 40 kg/tree seem attainable, but the economics of this level of production appear doubtful.

There is a tendency for alternate bearing in cashew trees, which is most marked in older trees and in those that produce large nuts. Thus, long term yield recording is necessary before selecting trees to provide vegetative planting material.

MARKETING
As a cashew industry has not yet been established in Australia, a marketing procedure has not been developed. Probably, the harvested nuts would be air-dried on the plantation and possibly stored, before being forwarded to the processing factory, where they would be graded.

PESTS AND DISEASES
Reports in overseas literature mention a wide range of pests and diseases that attack all parts of cashew trees. As there is no commercial industry in Australia, formal studies have not yet been carried out. Observations have been made on small plantings throughout Cape York Peninsula, as well as on the Kamerunga Horticultural Research Station near Cairns, where the climate is too wet for commercial cashew production. But the findings offer some guide to a few of the problems that may be encountered in potential commercial growing areas.

In the wet climate near Cairns, damage has been caused by a mirid bug (Helopeltis sp), the banana spotting bug (Amblypelta lutescens) and the disease anthracnose caused by the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. However, their incidence would probably be minor in a drier climate more suited to cashew production. Red-banded thrips (Selenothrips rubrocinctus) have caused serious leaf drop in some years and attack would probably be more severe in a drier climate. Leaf drop caused by thrip attack or strong winds retards the trees for up to 2 years until full leaf colour is re-established. Every effort should be made to prevent leaf loss.

Termites may cause problems in recommended cropping areas, although cashew wood is said to be resistant to their attack.

PROCESSING
The processing of cashew apples must be carried out close to the production centre, otherwise they spoil in transit. Processed cashew apple products include juice, syrup, wine, canned fruit, chutney, alcohol and vinegar.

As properly dried cashew nuts may be stored safely for a considerable period, processing may be carried out at any convenient location.

Modern commercial processing of cashew nuts is designed to recover the maximum percentage of whole kernels and the maximum percentage of cashew nut shell liquid (C.N.S.L.). Shelling cashews to obtain the kernels is very difficult because of:

  • • The irregular shape of the nut;
    • The tough leathery nature of the shells; and
    • the caustic nature of C.N.S.L.

In most commercial processes, the whole nuts are roasted in a bath of C. N. S. L. to extract the C.N.S.L. from the shells. Further extraction may be obtained by centrifuging. Several different mechanical methods are available for removing the shells, but all methods produce a proportion of broken kernels. After shelling, the kernels are peeled to remove the testa, graded according to international specifications and packed for market in airtight containers.

SMALL SCALE ROASTING
A primitive method is available for roasting very small quantities of nuts. However, the method is not recommended, as large volumes of acrid C.N.S.L. fumes are driven off when the nuts are heated.

Using the method, the whole nuts are placed in a shallow pan such as a frying pan with large holes drilled in the base. The pan is placed over an open fire. As the shells begin to burn, C.N.S.L. drips through the holes and catches fire, giving off choking fumes. The nuts are stirred to ensure even roasting. Timing is a matter of experience, but it is very important to avoid burning the kernels. After a few minutes, water is sprinkled over the burning nuts to extinguish them and they are thrown out to cool. The nuts are then shelled very carefully with rubber gloves to avoid injury from remaining C.N.S.L. The kernels and shells must be kept separate to avoid contamination of the kernels with C.N.S.L.

BOTANY
The cashew, Anacardium occidentale, Family Anacardiaceae, is native to tropical America from Mexico to Peru and Brazil, and also to the West Indies. It is related to the mango, the pistachio nut and also to the Australian native rainforest trees, the Burdekin plum and the tar tree, cedar plum or native cashew. Although cashews have become naturalised in parts of Cape York Peninsula and in beach sand areas at Forest Beach near Ingham, the crop has not yet been grown commercially in Australia.

The cashew tree may be tall and slender, but is ideally a symmetrical, spreading, umbrella-shaped tree. It is an evergreen perennial growing as tall as 15 m. However, trees growing under harsh conditions tend to have distorted branches, failing to develop the ideal shape. The tree has dense foliage and develops an extensive lateral root system and a taproot that is capable of penetrating to a depth of several metres.

Tree growth is very rapid over the first 5 to 6 years and the first crop may be set as early as the second year. Most trees bear by the third year. Although the trees live longer under ideal conditions, it is generally considered that the economic life of a planting is 30 to 40 years.

The fruit is the kidney-shaped nut or seed which is suspended below the juicy cashew apple. The apple is a swollen pedicel. See Figure 1.

USES
The edible kernel is the highly-prized cashew nut of commerce, which is usually sold as roasted cashews. Small or broken nuts may be used in confectionery or made into cashew butter, which is similar to peanut butter. A high-quality, pale-yellow, sweet oil may be extracted from the kernels.

The commercially valuable cashew nut shell liquid (C.N.S.L.) is extracted from the shell and is used as a waterproofing agent and as a preservative. When distilled and polymerised, C.N.S.L. is used in insulating varnishes, lacquers, inks, brake linings, and in acid- and alkali-resistant cement and tiles. The testa surrounding the kernel contains 25% tannin.

The apple is edible but often astringent. It may be used in jam, jelly, syrup or fermented for wine. The filtered juice is marketed in some countries. However, the economic value of the processed apple is often poorly-rated and it is usually discarded.

Monday, 06 May 2019 11:12

Gluten-Free Quinoa Breakfast Bars

Gluten-free quinoa breakfast bars are a sweet and easy breakfast option for those on-the-go mornings.  These breakfast bars combine quinoa, coconut flour, honey, and peanut butter with dried fruits and topped off with a few white chocolate morsels to make a delicious baked gluten-free breakfast option. 

Ingredients

  • 300 grams quinoa (cooked)
  • 150 milliliters applesauce
  • 80 grams coconut flour
  • 150 grams honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 grams dried fruit
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 60 grams white chocolate chips
  • 40 grams tapioca flour
  • 150 grams oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 150 grams  peanut butter
  • 1 cup walnuts 
  • 1/2 cup Coloured dried fruits (blond raisins or/and cranberries)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, eggs, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and applesauce together. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Place in the lined pan and gently press the batter flat into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the edges start to become golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares and serving.

In the 2018/2019 season, world tree nut production reached ca. 4.5 million metric tons, which represents an overall increment of 47% from 10 years ago on account of all the tree nuts enlarged crops. When compared against the prior 10-year average, the biggest crop rises in 2018/19 were registered for macadamias (57%), pistachios (43%), walnuts (37%) and cashews (32%). Analyzing the production trends over the last decade, almond was the most produced tree nut worldwide. With an average growth rate of 40,950 metric tons annually, the 2018/19 crop added up to ca. 1.3 million MT. Production of walnuts, cashews, pecans and macadamias also presented a significant linear growing trend over the prior 10 years (R2 >0.8).

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