Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kanza produces in drought year

Kanza nuts: 2010 vs. 2011
   In their 16th year (2011), our Kanza trees produced 899 lbs/ac. The same block of trees produced 1050 lbs./ac the previous year. We usually expect that yield for young trees increases year-over-year as the trees grow larger. So what happened in 2011?
    We ran into a spell of dry weather in 2011 that radically shrank the size of each nut produced by our Kanza trees. In the photo above, the nut on the left was grown in 2010 and was near normal in size, weighing (7.42g). In contrast, the nut on the right is from our 2011 crop. It is much smaller and weighs only 5.57g or three-quarters the weight of the 2010 nut. Using some simple math, I calculated the yield of our Kanza trees if they had produced the same sized nuts in 2011 as they had in 2010. That calculation predicted that we would have harvested 1198 lbs./ac if we had adequate rainfall in 2011. Nut production continues to increase in this young Kanza orchard--the drought of 2011 just made it hard to see.

Kanza kernels: 2010 vs. 2011
    One of the best characteristics of Kanza is that it seems to adjust to any weather conditions and still produce a quality kernel. I raided my freezer at home to find 2 two boxes of Kanza kernels--one from 2010 and one from 2011 (photo at left). In 2010, Kanza kernels averaged 3.82 g/nut while the 2011 kernels averaged only 2.85 g/nut. The difference in kernel size is visible in the photo (2010 on the left and 2011 on the right). However, despite their smaller size, 2011 kernels were still plump and golden. Folks sometimes complain that Kanza is too small, but I find it easy to sell quality kernels at any size.