Thursday, January 7, 2016

Native pecan yields drop in 2015

    The 2015 native pecan crop at the Pecan Experiment Field was a little disappointing. For 35 years, we have been recording the yield from 6 plots of native pecan trees and this past season, our native trees produced a below-average crop. The 2015 native crop came in at 825 lbs./acre as compared to our long-term average yield of 1156 lbs./acre. The yield history of our native plots is given in the chart below.
     If you study the chart for a bit, you'll see that there is no obvious pattern to yield variation from year to year. Record low yield in 1990, followed a winter when temperatures dropped to -26 F in mid- December causing serious shoot damage. The Easter freeze of 2007 destroyed emerging shoots and limited pistillate flower production. And finally, the December 2007 ice storm caused massive limb loss negatively impacting yield for following two growing seasons. Besides these three major weather events, I'm sure that natural variation in weather patterns have a lot to do with how trees perform over time. Unfortunately, all we can do about the weather is complain about it.