There is another large almond crop that will be knocking on our doors soon and the crops appear to only get larger in the years ahead. Even the 2018 crop appears to be another potential record breaker despite a substantial freeze in our area during the pollination period. We have become used to seasons that test our capabilities, but the continual growth of the almond industry is pushing us toward a point where our shelling capacity will be maximized. Will we be ready for a new tidal wave of almonds that will be delivered in the days ahead? I believe we shall and I would like to explain some of the improvements and ideas we have for the future.
- We installed a third scale at the office in Kerman that is now fully operational and will help alleviate pressure during the peak delivery period.
- A third scale position has been added to the counter in the office to accommodate this scale.
- Another stockpile belt-loader has been purchased and delivered to our Kerman site. This is the ninth belt-loader for Kerman and will certainly help to offload field run loads quicker.
- A new electrical panel has been completed at the Sanger Shelling operation, which will help improve sheller efficiency and prevent downtime.
An idea upon which Management is currently working is for an improvement to the K-1 sheller that will utilize new decking and increased conveyances to increase efficiency. This was a real success when we made modifications to the K-2 sheller in 2015 and we achieved a staggering 38% increase in efficiency last season while maintaining quality. This change alone will prevent us from having to build a new sheller, which would cost over twice as much. It will secure our future in making sure we have excess shelling capacity to meet future demands of our industry. We hope to have this change implemented for the 2020 shelling season.
Lastly, due to the improvement in the price of hulls, the Board of Directors has directed management to charge a hulling fee of 3 cents per meat equivalent pound, which shall be allocated as a Capital Retain. This is a change from last year when the Association had a 5 cent hulling fee. This is certainly good news for our members and we continue to be the lowest cost sheller in our area of operation. As you can tell by our actions we are continually focused on making sure that the best home for your almonds is here with Central California Almond Growers Association.