Determining and establishing quality parameters for Australian walnuts (WN11001)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
The rapidly increasing Australian walnut crop provided some interesting marketing challenges at the time as production greatly exceeded the Australian domestic market demand .
Locally produced Walnuts had always had an edge on quality over most of the imported nuts. It was important to maintain and improve this facet of the Australian crop to meet the forthcoming market competition on both the domestic and export markets.
Much of what affected Walnut flavour and quality was determined by the timing of the harvest and the subsequent drying and storage conditions. Timing, temperature and humidity were three vital factors affecting the eventual conditions of the kernel. Each of these factors would have a vital affect on the eventual nature of the oils in the kernel and the flavour either developed or destroyed.
The objective of this project was to “maintain and improve the quality of Australian walnuts to meet market competition in both the export and domestic markets‟ through the development of agreed quality parameters, test them with a group of growers through participatory research and then transfer the information to the broader group of growers within the Australian walnut industry.
Participatory Research was the major phase of the project. The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) researchers designed the methods in consultation with participants from Walnuts Australia, and the AWIA. In liaison with an AWIA appointed technical communications officer, the participants coordinated the day-to-day activities, and collected the data and information which was collated by the AWIA technical officer. Raw data was then sent to the TIA researchers, who were available for clarification on methodology, for analysis continuously throughout the investigation.
From the Participatory Research a set of agreed quality parameters and a range of "tools‟ to measure and record relevant information were developed. The publication “Quality Parameters for Australian Walnuts” was a collation of the quality parameters, methodology and templates for recording relevant information to measure the parameters.
The final part of the project was dissemination of the information and the materials developed to Australian walnut growers. Training sessions were conducted for some 35 growers where they were introduced to the Quality Parameters components and the documentation prepared including associated templates and colour plates.
As part of the ongoing role of the AWIA Technical Communications Officer all grower members were introduced to the Australian Walnut Industry Quality Parameters and encouraged to utilise them as part of the 2015 harvest and beyond.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with co-investment from Australian Walnut Industry Association.
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