Saturday, November 24, 2012

Kanza: Long term productivity

    Back in 1965 the USDA pecan breeding station set some scions of the pecan clone 55-11-11 to Kansas for advanced testing. Pictured at right is the tree grafted with that wood. In 1996, 55-11-11 was named Kanza and released as a new, scab-resistant pecan cultivar for northern pecan growers.
   One of the greatest challenges facing pecan breeders is predicting how a new cultivar will perform over the long run. And by long run, I mean 30 years and more. History is full of pecan cultivar that looked great as young trees only to fall apart in a mature orchard. Shoshoni, Chickasaw, Mohawk, and Maramec are a few examples that come to mind.
    So every year I watch this old original Kanza tree for signs of weakness. So far, this single Kanza tree has been extremely reliable, producing nuts every year with no sign of production problems. This year's crop was no different (photo above) and provides more evidence that Kanza is a cultivar for the long run.