Worldwide, walnuts and hazelnuts are major horticultural crops, with small areas of production co-existing with industrial-sized corporate farms. The area of walnuts under production in Australia is at least 2,700 ha. When mature, these orchards will produce over 11,000 tonnes of in-shell walnuts. The hazelnut industry is smaller but expanding, with an estimated 300 ha producing around 100 tonnes of in-shell product.
Both industries are targeting the domestic market for import replacement and out-of-season markets in the northern hemisphere. Products include in-shell fresh nuts, snacking kernel halves and ingredient for processed foods. Marketing is focussed on increasing awareness of the health benefits of including small quantities of nuts in the daily diet, plus the superior flavour of fresh product.
Expansion of walnuts and hazelnuts in Australia in recent decades has seen a mixture of farm business styles and variable systems of production. Consequently, tailored solutions are needed to solve highly variable problems and ensure desired quality across the different products.
TIA is the major public agency for research on walnuts and hazelnuts as defined under the National Horticultural Research Network
In addition to national and international research, TIA works closely with peak industry bodies and public agencies to facilitate priority-setting for R&D, as well participating in industry meetings to provide guidance and input to industry-based projects. The current focus is RD&E underpinning quality standards for Australian walnuts, with a view to analysing and strengthening the value chain involving growers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and consumers.
The University of Tasmania (UTAS) has a formal agreement with Webster Ltd (Walnuts Australia) whereby research scientist, Dr Michael Lang, who completed his doctoral training with TIA, is based at UTAS’ Cradle Coast Campus (with TIA) to foster innovation and science-based industry development. Research findings relevant to yield and quality management are being tested and implemented on commercial orchards with information extended through the Australian Walnut Industry Association, the International Walnut Symposium and other avenues.
TIA contributes to the Australian Nut Grower
Dr Kathy Evans
Phone +61 3 6233 6878