Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pecan cultivar performance in the Bootheel

   Several years ago I started a cooperative pecan cultivar trial with Rick and Cindy Faulkner down in the Bootheel of Missouri. This fall, the young trees in the trial have started to bear a healthy crop of nuts. Pictured at right is a USDA clone 75-8-9 which bore a light crop and showed only a touch of scab.  Of all the cultivars under test at this location, Lakota, Kanza, Gardner and USDA 75-8-5 were the first cultivars to bear full crops with nuts hanging throughout the canopies.

    I visited the Bootheel in early October and found that Lakota was fully shucksplit (photo at left) at that time. That's great news for SE Missouri pecan growers.  It looks like scab-resistant Lakota will be well adapted to the SE Missouri growing season.
      Kanza is another scab-free cultivar that is doing well in the Bootheel (photo right). However, an increasing  problem facing pecan producers in the Mississippi Delta are the many species of kernel feeding plant bugs that attack pecan. In the photo at right, a leaf-footed bug is feeding on a Kanza nut even at shuck split.
    Plant geneticists have created genetically altered cotton and soybeans cultivars resistant to boll worm and pod worm. This has dramatically reduced the amount of pesticides applied to these crops in the Bootheel. However, with fewer sprays, plant bugs flourish and multiply in cotton and soybean fields. When these field crops mature, plant bugs look for alternative plant hosts on which to feed and pecan fits the bill.