Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Pecan harvest patterns
There is not a right or wrong way to harvest nuts. Both of these harvest patterns seem to work. However, at the Experiment Field, we tend to harvest our native trees in blocks rather than individual trees. Driving around in circles tends to make the operator crazy and I feel like the harvester can capture a wider swath of ground by driving a straighter path.
These photos also illustrate one very important difference between these two groves. Note the amount of leaves left behind after harvesting. The grove harvested in circles had far fewer leaves on the ground than the grove harvested as a block (the grove with more leaves). These two groves are adjacent to each other but only the second grove receives annual applications of nitrogen fertilizer. Regular nitrogen fertilization stimulates the growth of more leaves, more leaves capture more solar energy, and more energy in the tree results in more nuts.
Before harvest you could see an obvious difference in nut production between these two groves. After harvest the leaves tell the same story.