Black Walnut Agroforestry

Buy the best book on black walnut agroforestry in Canada, Biomass Nut Production in Black Walnut, by ECSONG member Neil Thomas.

Shortly after Y2K, Neil entered into an arrangement with Algonquin College to define requirements for a group of mechanical engineering students to design and build equipment to provide experience in a real world situation. A black walnut cracker was designed and built, a nut washer/dehuller, some nut gatherers, and a shell grinder-pelletizer.

Neil died in 2012 and donated the developed equipment to Kemptville College, part of the University of Guelph. The College was closed in 2014. ECSONG does not know if or where Neil's equipment survives.

Agroforestry begins with the trees - 2500 of them at 6 m spacing

A small scale commercial harvester

This large scale harvester has proven to be too heavy and awkward in the field - a smaller ATV-drawn version was planned

A counter-rotating auger feed inside a rotating screen hulls and washes the nuts - over-elaborate, no water recycling, but effective

Drying the hulled nuts is still at a primitive stage of development

Neil Thomas with his seed planting tool and grass mower

Neil with his prorotype cracking-sorting machine

The cracking rollers - only one spacing. Hammons sorts hulled nuts by size and uses many rollers with spacing optimized for each size

The rotating sorting screens - 1/2" and 1/4" mesh triages into recracks, product, and bird feed - processing time is controlled by the angle of the screens

A satellite view of Neil's black walnut orchards

John Sankey