A new de-husking and sorting system that gives macadamia growers better returns per hectare, reduces their losses and improves the quality of macadamias for consumers, has been introduced by Macadamia Processing Company (MPC), Australia’s largest macadamia processor.
Under the new system macadamia farmers can harvest, dehusk and deliver their macadamias immediately to the factory, with no on-farm sorting required.
MPC’s General Manager Steve Lee said: “Since the 1990’s the macadamia industry has approached quality by applying reject penalties in payment systems. This has caused farmers to spend many hours sorting and resorting macadamias on their farm before delivery to the factory. It’s a costly process for growers and we felt there had to be a better way. So we set about developing a system that removes the need for farmers to sort their own nuts, increases yield per hectare, reduces potential quality losses and maintains the value of the macadamias.
Research Drives Innovation
MPC’s research found if macadamia growers could speed up the interval between nut fall and delivery to the factory – which is achieved by removing the on-farm sorting process – returns for growers would be improved.
The new system allows growers to harvest and deliver more quickly which also helps to improve both the taste and texture of macadamias for consumers.
“The sooner growers deliver their nuts to the factory the higher the macadamia kernel quality attained and the higher amount of usable kernel achieved,” said Mr. Lee.
By reducing on-farm sorting we’ve freed up growers’ time and decreased harvest intervals, which research has shown improves yield and returns per hectare. “We see the new system as a win for both the grower and the consumer,” said Mr. Lee.
How It Works
MPC’s new cleaning machinery removes trash, rock and rejects from consignments before they are sampled and placed in silos. All of this is provided to MPC’S growers free of charge. When combined with state-of-the-art kernel colour sorters, MPC is now able to remove all rejects that were formerly removed by on-farm hand sorting.
It is all backed up by a payment system that has no reject penalties and pays commercial grade at premium prices.
For growers requiring full de-husking, MPC has worked with Alstonville’s House With No Steps (HWNS) to develop a system that offers full dehusking at a cost of$0.06/kg of input weight.
This new macadamia sorting system is a step forward for the entire industry as it:
- Reduces on farm costs – including reduced labour costs for dehusking and sorting;
- Increases harvest frequency – proven to improve the kernel recovery and value of NIS. There is also decreased opportunity for NIS to be lost in heavy rainfall;
- Reduces kernel loss – by not having to sort, the possibility of growers accidentally removing good kernel is removed. By not having to store NIS for sorting, the potential for quality deterioration is removed.
- Improves kernel taste and texture to the consumer – which assists demand and provides a better and more stable price to growers.