Getting Started in Regenerative Management

I often get asked if we can manage pecans regeneratively and still be productive and profitable. My answer? Yes, we can, but regenerative management will be different for each producer. Each producer will have unique circumstances that will require individualized management practices. Many producers have been seeking ways to reduce input costs while maintaining or...

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a tractor driving through the pecan orchard

Principles over Practices

Last year, I had the opportunity to attend the Ranching for Profit School conducted by Ranch Management Consultants. While the school targeted livestock producers, I quickly recognized that pecan producers could benefit from a similar school. The school was more of a business course focused on helping individuals (owners or managers) learn how to develop...

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A variety of grasses and plant life grow between scattered pecan trees in this orchard.

Regenerative Management in Pecans

How can ‘Regenerative Agriculture’ work for pecan growers? Over the last couple of years, this is a common question I have received. I would say that for several of the growers I have visited about regenerative management, most are willing to try it to solve problems that traditional management has not worked on. With higher...

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Two rows of pecan trees separated by tall grasses that serve as cover crops. This practice represents an incentive in the pecan industry that could attract consumers.

Managing Your Orchards with IPM to Improve Your Profits

As the economic environment continues to change with higher input costs and decreased farm profitability, we as growers must start looking for ways to lessen our dependency on high-cost inputs. Following regenerative agriculture principles has proven to be an effective way to improve soil health and lessen growers’ reliance on high-cost inputs. By following these...

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Alternative pest control considerations

With the new season right around the corner and the supply chain challenges for all goods, growers may need to start thinking about alternative pest control options. We have become dependent on chemicals to help control pests in our orchards. This dependence has led to us giving little thought to other methods for controlling these...

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A man buries new cotton underwear in his orchard to observe his soil health.

Get to know your soil and your soil health

We all know the importance of monitoring and scouting pecan trees. We spend countless hours each year going through the orchards scouting for disease, insects, nutrient deficiencies, and other issues. In fact, many producers can tell me about each tree without looking at a map or plot plan of the orchard. You can easily recite...

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Sample fungicide spray plan lists chemicals used, disease treated, application time, and other notes. Making a plan like this can help you manage inputs.

Manage Inputs When Managing Your Orchard

With the current market issues with pecans and the ever-increasing costs of inputs, growers are always looking for ways to increase profit from their pecan operations and manage inputs. We can use several strategies to reduce costs in our operations, hence increasing profit. Some of these strategies may be straightforward, while others may require you...

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A nut cluster with slight shuck opening is coated in a layer of ice. Icicles hang off small branches and the cluster on this mature pecan tree, during an ice storm.

Recovering from Ice Storm Damage

As if 2020 has not been challenging enough, some growers in the central region are facing yet another challenge. Some growers now confront cleaning up orchards following a significant ice storm and trying to salvage what crop they have left. A strong winter storm pushed through North Texas and Oklahoma on Oct. 26 and brought...

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The Woe of Winter in the Heat of the Summer

Once again, growers in the Central region were ready to start another pecan season. The producers were prepared to put the previous season in the past and forget about the low prices they received for this last crop that did not live up to their earlier hopes and expectations. The 2020 season started earlier than...

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The Origin of Improved Pecans

After writing my last article on “The Importance of Native Pecans for the Future of the Industry,” I have had several readers visit with me about the article, telling me how much they enjoyed it and many saying that it gave them a great appreciation for natives. I have had a few ask me to...

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What happened to my 2018 pecan crop?

Pecan production is never an easy or guaranteed venture. Even before the 2018 pecan season started out, most areas had high expectations for a good crop. Crop production was lower the previous season, and for most of us we, had good soil moisture over the winter. However just as the 2018 season started with some...

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A pile of pecans and sticks after a hurricane sits beside a truck and are now inedible.

More than a tree

We all know that the wood from pecan trees is great for barbecuing and smoking meat. Along with adding flavor to your meats, pecan wood makes unique furniture, flooring, and paneling. It is also used in producing pallets for transportation of goods. After pecan wood is cured, it is extremely durable. Pecan wood has also...

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A native pecan grove in southern Oklahoma.

Pre-Harvest Planning

Since harvest is just around the corner, I thought it would be good to talk about management practices a grower may take the time to evaluate this time of year, which could pay big dividends into the future. I know that many producers are focused on the upcoming harvest and getting their equipment ready. However,...

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Orchard cleanup following ice damage

Many native pecan-producing areas were recently hit with extremely low temperatures and a blanket of ice. Producers can only hope any damage is not to the extent that has resulted from ice storms of the past. One major factor that could increase the potential for damage is the amount of stress that the trees have...

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Pecan buds at various stages of development suffer from freeze damage. All primary buds on this shoot were damaged. (Photo by Charles Rohla)

Watch for Freeze Damage This Chilly Spring

As I was preparing to write this article, I was pondering what to write about this month but then mother nature gave me an unexpected and unwanted topic. Over the weekend of April 7 and 8 temperatures across the northern pecan production areas dropped below freezing. With budbreak having started on several trees in southern...

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Cattle graze underneath native pecan trees at an orchard.

Add Value in the Pecan Orchard with Ground Cover

When I am visiting with pecan growers, one topic that seems to come up is proper management of forage for either livestock grazing or for hay production. Working mostly in Oklahoma and North Texas, the majority of the landowners I work with are not just solely pecan producers. These individuals are agriculture producers with diverse...

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Feral Hogs in the Grove

Feral hogs are among the most destructive invasive species that agriculture producers face and can be a major issue for pecan growers. The most obvious damage that hogs cause in pecan areas is damage to the ground that interferes with harvest and general management. While this destruction can be costly and time-consuming, one often-overlooked consideration...

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Tools to help determine a thinning plan

Mature tree removal is one of the most critical and difficult management decisions that a pecan grower has to make particularly in native groves. It is often very difficult for a producer to cut down a large tree. Sometimes this difficulty arises from an emotional connection to a tree and other times it can be...

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Review of Bunch Disease in Pecan

During the Oklahoma Pecan Growers’ orchard tour during the last conference, we looked at several pecan trees that exhibited signs of bunch disease. Producers asked several questions about this disease during the field tour and I have received several questions since. There is not a significant amount of information regarding bunch disease in pecan. The...

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pecan trees affected by drought in Oklahoma

Pecan Trees: Coping With the Drought

During 2011 Oklahoma and Texas endured a severe drought resulting in major agricultural losses. The losses from the continued drought conditions of 2012 could be as equally significant if adequate rainfall does not occur. Drought conditions cause extreme stress on pecan trees. Water is critical for tree survival and nut production and is involved in...

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Native Treasures

During 2010 over 45 million pounds of native pecans were harvested in the United States. This production had a value of over $60 million dollars. With an estimated one million acres of native pecan timber, there is a huge potential to increase farm income from managing these trees. Often times, native producers do nothing to...

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Old Grove, New Potential

Last year over 45 million pounds of native pecans were harvested in the United States worth over $60 million dollars. The good prices from the past year have generated a lot of interest in pecan production. I receive several calls each week from folks wanting to get into the pecan business and benefit from these...

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Wildlife Can Take Significant Toll on Pecan Crop

Pecan groves seem to be a common gathering place for a variety of wildlife.  Often times, individuals find this visually appealing when in fact wildlife gathering in these areas can become quite a nuisance. The damage resulting from wildlife inhabitation can be divided into three areas:  tree injury, nut injury, and cashing. Tree injury occurs when the...

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Successfully Managing Native Pecans Can Be Challenging

One of the most challenging aspects of pecan production is managing the native pecan grove. Native pecan groves are unique since no two native trees or orchards are alike. Since these differences exist, each grove must be managed differently. To successfully manage a native grove, a producer should take a holistic approach when evaluating the...

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