Pecan Research and Extension Station Profile

Randy S. Sanderlin  |  7/9/2010 6:23:03 PM

Please click on the image above for the PDF version of the Pecan Research and Extension Station Profile.

You can access a PDF version of the Pecan Research and Extension Station Profile below.

The station is located approximately 6 miles south of Shreveport, LA off Highway 1 near the port of Shreveport.

10300 Harts Island Road, Shreveport, LA 71115
Phone: 318-797-8034
Fax: 318-676-7371
Office Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
Email Station 

The station is 99 acres with 75 acres planted in pecan trees. Of the planted acres, 50 acres are yield bearing trees. There are three greenhouses totaling 4050 sq. ft. for pecan research.

Contact: Randy Sanderlin, Research Station Coordinator/Professor

Pecan Research focus:

  • Disease management
  • Management of pecan arthropod pests.
  • Pecan fertility
  • Crop load management
  • Breeding
  • Outreach

Research Highlights
The LSU AgCenter Pecan Research-Extension Station is the only university research station solely designated to conduct programs to advance the commercial pecan industry of the United States. The mission of the station is to perform research and extension programs on pecan culture including horticulture, physiology, entomology, and plant pathology. Because pecan is a long-lived crop, many studies have to be maintained for years to obtain reliable data and a full comprehension of treatment effects.

Pest Management
Through collaborative research, monitoring techniques were developed for pecan phylloxera and case bearer that allows producers to better time insecticide applications to obtain efficient control at minimum cost. Damage levels at different stages of nut development were determined for pecan scab. This indicated the potential degree of economic importance for scab disease control at different points in nut development and helps producers make informed decisions about the number and timing of fungicide applications. Efficacy trials have provided data for registering many new insecticides and fungicides for pecan arthropod and disease management.

The Pecan Station has participated in the testing of three cultivars released through the USDA, Creek, Houma, and Oconee, and two Louisiana selections, Melrose and Moreland. The standard rootstocks that perform best for tree growth and nut production in Louisiana were determined through a multi-year project at the Station. Alternate bearing is a strongly expressed genetic trait of pecan trees, but a grower can minimize this cyclic behavior by implementing intensive management techniques including a pesticide spray program, herbicide strips, irrigation, and fertilization. Research at the Pecan Station has demonstrated the benefits of fruit thinning in pecan. Thinning the pecan nut load in heavy crop years generally increases nut quality as indicated by increased percentage of kernel, kernel grade, and nut weight. Nut thinning improves return bloom of some cultivars, thus reducing crop variation from year to year.

Extension and Outreach
Faculty provide leadership in educating growers, extension agents, and associated industry personnel on varietal selection, cultural, insect, and disease management, and marketing aspects of the pecan industry. Research results are disseminated to scientific, extension, and commercial individuals and groups via appropriate publications/articles, short courses, station field-days, and annual grower’meetings.

Significance of Pecan Research and Extension

  • Cultivar evaluations conducted at the Pecan Station and in cooperation with producers have provided information on the production characteristics that assist producers in making selections for orchard development and in identifying cultivars that can be produced profitably in Louisiana.
  • Research on horticultural management practices, insect population dynamics and management, and disease epidemiology and control has increased acreage yield over the past 30 years.
  • Research confirmed a bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa, as the causal agent of pecan leaf scorch, and the role of insects in transmission of the pathogen.

2009 Pecan Industry Facts

  • In 2009, Louisiana harvested 7.8 million pounds of pecans; 4 million pounds were improved pecans and 3.8 million were native pecans.
  • Pecans were produced on 24.5 thousand acres in 2009.
  • Average yield was 400 lbs for improved pecans and 260 lbs for native pecans.
  • Total farm gate value of pecans was $8.5 million, and value added production was $2 million, for a total economic contribution of $10.5 million.
  • Pecans are harvested commercially in 35 parishes.

Data from the Louisiana Ag Summary.

Future Plans
Cultural and pest management research will continue to be the main mission of the Pecan Station. Ongoing research projects are required to continue to provide producers with procedures and tools that will allow them to maintain profitable production.

Pest Management
Insect management will focus on identifying improved monitoring and forecasting methods , and developing improved control systems for pecan arthropod pests. Research will also investigate using cover crop management to provide habitats for beneficial insects. New pesticides and insect growth regulators with low impact on the environment will also be tested.

The goal of the pecan breeding program is to develop pecan cultivars adapted for use in the humid southeastern United States. Resistance or tolerance to major insect and disease pests, especially pecan scab, is a major goal. Research at the Pecan Station has shown that kernels of native Louisiana pecan selections have higher phytochemical levels than improved varieties. Potential exists to develop new pecan varieties that have a higher level of phytochemicals for fresh consumption, and also to develop new food products based on the phytochemical properties of pecans.

Development and evaluation of new cultivars is an important function of the Station. The Pecan Station has entered an agreement with the USDA to participate in their National Pecan Advanced Clone Testing System (NPACTS) for cultivar selection for the pecan industry.

Other research will focus on the development of cultural practices to improve economic returns, such as managing legumes to supply nitrogen.

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