Proper stockpile management is a critical part of almond food safety practices and quality control.
Bob Curtis, associate director for Agricultural Affairs at the Almond Board, says growers or handlers need to be aware of moisture levels in the crop even before stockpiling, and watch the moisture closely after stockpiling. The Almond Board stockpiling guide state almonds should not be stockpiled if either the hull moisture content exceeds 12 percent or the kernel moisture content exceeds 6 percent.
It’s also important to manage stockpile moisture. Cover with a white-on-black tarp and measure relative humidity. If moisture levels are too high, open up the tarps in the daytime to allow moisture to escape, and close them at night when relative humidity tends to increase.
While rain doesn’t seem to be an issue this year, should it happen, you’ll want to protect the stockpile and watch the moisture level closely.
Moisture isn’t the only thing to watch for. Monitor almond stockpiles closely for evidence of pests, like rodents, insects and birds. If you find pests, treat or fumigate as necessary.
But even with close monitoring, Curtis says sometimes things happen.