Pecan seminar helps growers prepare for 2008

Linda Benedict  |  4/23/2008 12:09:14 AM

The LSU AgCenter Pecan Research and Extension Station in Shreveport hosted a seminar on pecan growing on Feb. 28, 2008, which was attended by 35 growers.

John Pyzner, LSU AgCenter pecan and fruit specialist, addressed desirable traits of a cultivated variety. Those include large nut size, ease of shelling, increased yield and good disease resistance. Early-maturing varieties he mentioned are Barton, Pawnee and Candy. The best cultivars for sprayed orchards, according to Pyzner, are Sumner, Moreland, Oconee, Pawnee, Caddo, Candy, Elliott and Kiowa. The best pecan cultivars for home planting are Sumner, Elliott, Candy, Jackson, Stuart, Moreland and Owens. Pyzner said growers need to know what their customers want. For instance, the gift box trade needs early-maturing varieties and pretty, bright kernels.

LSU AgCenter horticulturist Charlie Graham said lime increases soil pH, improves microbial activity and generally improves soil structure, but he cautioned that all liming materials are not created equal.

“Understand what you are purchasing,” Graham said. Liquid applications can provide better uniformity, but the down side is that growers must haul both water and lime across the field, he explained.

Alternative liming sources are marl or Selma chalk, finely ground oyster shells, egg shells, blast furnace slag and paper mill lime. Agricultural lime’s effectiveness depends on the degree of fineness because the reaction rate depends on the surface area in contact with the soil, Graham said.

Because the cost of limestone increases with fineness, materials that require minimal grinding yet contain enough fine material to change pH rapidly are preferred, Graham said.

David Boethel, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter, updated the group on the status of the Interstate 69 interchange proposed to go through the Pecan Station. He said the state Department of Transportation and Development was surveying a month ago and talked about the possibility of clipping a southern corner of the station rather than constructing right through it. “If they can move it that far, they can move the whole highway,” Boethel said.

Mary Ann Van Osdell

(This article was published in the winter 2008 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)

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