Friday, January 21, 2011

Pecan Breeding Project

This past fall we collected the first pecans from our pecan breeding block. Pictured at left is a seedling that produced a clean beautiful kernel. It really stood out among all the samples we collected. This medium sized nut had 57% kernel. The pecan pictured below was 52% kernel, about the same size as Kanza and is scab resistant. At this point in our evaluation, I'm looking for kernel quality and scab resistance for any clone that will move into advanced testing. Nut size can change as the trees get larger (see Nuts on young trees). So, I will wait a while before deciding if a seedling is too small to be considered for release.
     One thing I have noticed so far is that our heavy use of Pawnee as a parent has meant that many of the seedlings are producing nuts with that fine black speckling on the surface of the kernel that is so characteristic of Pawnee. These black speckles give the kernels a grayish caste that you can see on the nuts pictured above right.
    If I find a high quality and scab free pollinizer (type 1) for Kanza (type 2) in our breedling block, all that hand pollination and tree planting will be worth it.