Friday, November 28, 2014

The rush to harvest pecans is on!

   On this day after Thanksgiving, many Americans spent the day rushing about in huge crowds of people at the local shopping mall. But on this warm and sunny day, we spent the day rushing around the pecan grove harvesting nuts. In fact,  the entire river bottom was humming with the sounds of pecan harvest as growers throughout the area worked to harvest the 2014 crop.

   At the Pecan Experiment Field, we use a stick rake (photo above) to remove fallen limbs knocked to the ground by the tree shaker. Once the sticks are raked off the orchard floor, we use a pull-type harvester to sweep pecans up off the ground (photo at left).
   After putting in a long day of harvest today, I gained two impressions of this year's native pecan crop. Yields are below average and we are shaking out a lot of dead wood. These outcomes  are probably related to the several years of drought we've experienced recently and the late spring freeze of 2014.