Friday, January 17, 2014

Mid-winter pecan harvest

    It looks like mid-January will represent the longest stretch of harvesting weather we've going to get to pick up the 2013 pecan crop. This past week the Neosho River bottom was humming with the sound of pecan harvesters (photo above). At the Pecan Experiment Field we finally finished picking the entire grove and have now started on our second picking.
   You would think that we could get the majority of nuts picked up on the first pass across the orchard, but several trees have required a second shake to bring all the nuts down. And frankly, mechanical harvesters always leave nuts behind during the first harvest. How much do we harvest on the second pass? The chart below provides some numbers.

    At the Experiment Field, we have 6 native pecan plots that we record annual yield. These plots are labeled A through F and we record the weight of clean, harvested nuts from both the first and second harvests. In 2013, the plots averaged 1640 lbs/acre in total harvest. A little over 20% of that yield was collected from the second harvest.