Monday, November 15, 2010

Kanza, another great crop in 2010

2010 Kanza crop
     I remember my first days when I came to Kansas 30 years ago. As a young man just getting my feet wet in the pecan business, I decided to travel to OK and and TX to learn about pecans from some of the leaders in the field. Down in Oklahoma, I listened to Cat Taylor tell a group of growers that the best pecan cultivars for Oklahoma had been found--'Mohawk' and 'Maramec', no question about it.. In Texas, George Ray McEachern was adamant that 'Cheyenne' was the perfect pecan for Texas.
    With the passage of time, 'Mohawk', 'Maramec' and 'Cheyenne' have all developed serious problems that make their status as "best cultivars to plant" questionable. 'Mohawk' trees have been cut down by the thousands because of severe over production problems. Maramec's problem is just the opposite--light yields make this a difficult tree to keep profitable. Down in Texas, 'Cheyenne' seems to be the most attractive cultivar for aphids driving production costs through the roof.
     What I've learned from my colleagues is that there has never been or probably never will be the perfect pecan cultivar for growers to graft. With that said, every year I see 'Kanza' produce another crop of nuts (see photo above), I get more and more impressed with this cultivar. 'Kanza' ticks all the boxes for me--Scab resistant, annual production, good tree structure, outstanding kernel color and quality, and excellent shell out (mostly halves). Is 'Kanza' the perfect cultivar for northern pecan growers? I guess we'll see in 30 years.