The summer of 2012 was hot and dry in SE Kansas. Last year, we experienced an usually cool and wet summer. Today, I grabbed a couple of Kanza nut samples to show you just how much weather conditions can influence nut size and quality (photo above). Remember, when it comes to nut size, water supply during the nut sizing period (month of July through early August) determines the size of the shell. How well that shell is filled with nut kernel is determined by soil water availability later in the summer, during the kernel deposition period (August through early September).
Water supply was deficient throughout much of the 2012 growing season. Our Kanza nuts reacted to this water shortage by producing smaller and less well-filled pecans. The 2013 growing season provided ample water supply and our Kanza nuts returned to their normal size and kernel percentage.It is amazing to see how much a pecan cultivar can change from year to year. Over the past several years I've been shipping Kanza nuts to a friend in Virginia. I guess he had gotten used to receiving the smaller Kanza nuts produced during the drought years of 2011 and 2012 because, when he received the 2013 crop, he thought I had sent him a different cultivar.