Articles

The NZ hazelnut industry. Where to from here?

By Murray Redpath

HGA newsletter October 2010.
Originally presented at HGANZ AGM, 2010

NZ hazel industry 2010:

NZ has over 430 hectares planted, most since 2000. Almost 100% of this area is planted in Whiteheart plus pollinisers so we have an industry dependent on successfully growing and marketing Whiteheart.

There has been a change in the orchard size since 2000 – from mainly orchards of 200-1000 trees to mainly orchards of over 1000 trees (see graphs below).
Fig. 1: Number of hazel trees per grower, SNGA hazelnut seminar 1996 (McNeil, 1996)
Percentage of attendees
60 50 40 30 20 10 0

<200 200-399 400-999 1000->2000 1999
Orchard tree number

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Nut storage

HGA recently received enquiries on best practice for storing hazelnuts. Bryan Thomas offered the following advice.

By Bryan Thomas

HGA newsletter October 2010

There can be no doubt that hazelnuts will keep best in-shell provided that the moisture level is reasonably low (4-5%) and the temperature is moderate. Once out of the shell there is potential for contamination from handling, from containers and from airborne material, any of which can initiate deterioration. Such deterioration will proceed more rapidly at higher temperatures and in the presence of moisture.

If un-contaminated, the proteins and oils in the kernel will break down only slowly provided the temperature is low. Therefore the key is to ensure nuts are correctly dried, crack them in a clean environment, using clean utensils and use clean moisture-proof containers, and store at low temperatures (eg fridge). It is also worthwhile washing nuts prior to cracking if there is contamination on the outside of the shells that may get onto the kernel.

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AGM Field Trips 2010

Les McCracken

HGA newsletter July 2010

Field trips were held in South Canterbury in association with the AGM. On Saturday, about 50 people attended a field-day at Linda and Les McCracken’s orchard at Ashburton where the focus was on harvesting tools. This included a demonstration of the Italian harvester imported by Les and Linda earlier this year, as well as a sweeper designed and manufactured in Oamaru for Tim and Judith Medlicott.
The McCrackens imported the Super Jolly 2800 after seeing it while at the Hazelnut Congress in Italy in 2008. The complete unit cost approximately $29000 including freight. It uses mechanical pickup, rather than suction, to avoid blockages, and screens out soil and trash. A key advantage for the McCrackens is that the unit can be operated by one person.

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AGM report 2010

By Sarah Shore

HGA newsletter July 2010

The 2010 Annual General Meeting of the Hazelnut Growers’ Association was held on 3 June 2010 at Ashburton and attended by about 60 members.

In addition to the President’s Report (see above), Murray Redpath delivered a presentation on issues facing growers and the industry as a whole. This sparked an extensive discussion on the role of HGA and the future of the organisation and the industry. Key questions were:

• What is the role of HGANZ in developing the local industry, and how does that complement the activities of commercial enterprises?

• How can we make hazelnuts a viable crop for existing and potential new growers – focusing on a domestic or export market? If we target exports, which are our likely markets? (Bearing in mind that US growers now export most of their crop to Asia, particularly Hong Kong and Viet Nam.)

• What varieties would best support the selected growth strategy? (At present, new plantings are overwhelmingly Whiteheart, but US exports are mainly in-shell.)

Chairman’s report 2010

By Murray Redpath

Delivered to the HGA AGM, 3 June 2010

In late October I attended the annual conference of the Hazelnut Growers of Australia and gave a talk on “The Development of the NZ Hazelnut Industry”. I spent a few days before the conference staying with Basil and Jean Baldwin in central New South Wales. Basil and Jean visited Canterbury in 2006 and spoke at the HGANZ AGM. Basil is semi-retired but still does some work at the Charles Sturt University in Orange. One of his recently completed projects was a guide to the identification of hazelnut varieties grown in Australia.

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International hazelnut quality characteristics

Niels Maness – Department of Horticulture, Oklahoma State University

HGA newsletter, June 2006

Quality Characteristics and Criteria

In-shell hazelnuts should be properly sized to meet the stated market type and should be properly filled with at least 50% of the shell cavity occupied by nutmeat. Shells should be free of cracks and noticeable mechanical injury, clean, brightly colored and coloring patterns should be characteristic of the stated variety. The pellicle should be smooth and devoid of husk attachments. Kernels should meet the stated market type, be free of any misshapen or underdeveloped kernels and be free of any shell or foreign material and off-odor, off-flavor or mold. Water content of kernels should not exceed 6% if shelled or 7% if in-shell, and the total water content of unshelled nuts should not exceed 10 to 12%. Size is specified with grade as a determinant of quality, and minimum sizes are used for specification of classes “Extra” and “Class I” in international trade. For in-shell markets, larger and particularly rounded types are preferred. Shelled markets accommodate both rounded and oblong types, and size preference is dependent on the intended end use. 

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