Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Drought induced stick-tights

    After harvesting for a couple of weeks we have finally started to clean some of the 2012 pecan crop. Today, I walked over to the piles of rejected nuts that came out of the cleaning plant and grabbed two handfuls of stick-tights. The first handful came from the pile that was blown out of the cleaner by the air leg (photo at right). As you can see, the cleaner blew out stick-tights that had wafer-like kernels and nuts that fell out of the shuck normally but had shriveled or no kernel. These are the type of pecans we definitely want to keep out of our final product.

    I took a second sample from the the rejects that had been pulled off the inspection table by hand. These were all stick-tights but unfortunately, these nuts contained edible kernel (photo at left). The summer-long drought we experienced in 2012 has caused the shucks of some nuts not to open properly. This type of incomplete ripening seems more prevalent on trees with heavy crop loads. It's a terrible shame to waste these perfectly good kernels but if the shucks stay firmly attached the nut, the nut is  unmarketable.  Fortunately, stick-tights with good kernel inside are far fewer in number than the numerous stick-tights we are seeing being blown out of the cleaner (nuts with little or no kernel).