Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Early harvest

Shaking 'Posey'
Harvesting 'Posey'
     One of the advantages of having pecan cultivars ripen 18 days earlier than normal is that we were able to start harvest earlier than normal (photo above and at right).  Today, we started on some 'Posey' pecan trees. The nuts shook out well but we noticed some green hulled nuts dropping along with nuts that fell fully free from the husks.
    Because of the high moisture content of the green shucks, we decided to run our harvested nuts immediately through the cleaner to blow out any loose green shucks and to remove nuts with the hull still firmly attached. Green shucks in a sack of pecans can cause terrible mold problems.

"Stick-tights" collected during harvest
    Posey had shuck split way back on September 18th; so why where some nuts not opening more than a month later? I collected some of those green hulled nuts and cut them open to check on nut development.  In every case, I found a paper thin kernel (photo at left). One way pecan cultivars deal with drought is to abort a portion of their crop when the nuts are in the water stage and before the tree makes any carbohydrate investments in kernel deposition. These nuts, with little or no kernel development, end up becoming "stick-tights" and are discarded during the cleaning process.