Effectively Managing Almond Stockpiles
Once again, the California Almond industry is raising the bar. With the California Almond Objective Report forecasting a 5.1% increase to more than 2.25 billion pounds, more crop than ever may be subject to stockpiling, and for a longer time. Be sure your stockpiles are managed to protect the quality and safety of the crop.
When stockpiling, remember to follow these top five practices:
1. Measure moisture levels as nuts arrive in the yard. Do not stockpile if either the hull moisture content exceeds 12% or the kernel moisture content exceeds 6%.
2. Choose stockpile location in an area that will provide a raised or sloped bottom to drain moisture away. Be sure stockpile is free of trash and away from stored equipment.
3. Create stockpiles oriented in a north/south direction, and smooth the tops so they are flat.
4. Manage stockpile moisture. Cover with a white-on-black tarp and measure relative humidity. If moisture levels are too high, open up the tarp in the daytime to allow moisture to escape, and close it at night, when relative humidity tends to increase.
5. Monitor closely for evidence of pests, including insects, rodents and birds. If found, treat or fumigate as necessary.
More guidelines and helpful steps for managing stockpiles to prevent contamination and aflatoxin development can be found in the Almond Board of California’s “Stockpile Management Best Practices” guide.