Ben Littlepage as a young man stands with his pecan trees

Have you heard the story of Ben Littlepage?

As usual, I turned onto I-49 driving south from Shreveport. I got off at exit 99, turned left and took the bridge over the Red River, driving northeast on Highway 8 toward Colfax. At McNeely Crossing, I would normally turn right at the farmhouse with the cannon sitting out front, but today, I continued on...

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Low Input Doesn’t Mean ‘No’ Input

Pecan Scab! Just mentioning this fungal disease makes grower’s grab their wallets. Ask just about any pecan scientist or grower and you will get the same answer. Pecan scab is the most economically important disease of pecan in the southeastern United States. It can devastate the leaves and nuts of susceptible cultivars in humid regions...

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A New Year, A New Crop to Care For

So much can change over a short period of time. I often look back to previous year’s conditions to compare with present conditions. Last year, many growers, especially those that had other fruit crops in addition to their pecan trees, were very concerned about the shortage of cold weather received over the 2016-2017 winter. It...

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Warm Winter May Spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E

The last couple of weeks have been busy, beginning with a trip to Mississippi for the Southeastern Pecan Growers Association Conference. That was followed by a trip to Las Cruces, New Mexico, for the Western Pecan Growers Association Conference. While both educational programs provided information on a wide range of topics, the meetings also allow...

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Liebig’s Law of the Minimum

Last month, Monte Nesbitt provided us with a great overview on biotic and abiotic stresses that pecan trees had to deal within the 2016 growing season. He also called out researchers and extension specialists (and I agree with him) for too often generalizing a problem with the “tree stress” response. Since I am as guilty...

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The Good and Bad of Abundant Precipitation

Last month, Monte Nesbitt shared information on the impact that above-average precipitation has had on pecan scab infection on several new varieties. Early spring rains allowed researchers and growers to get a unique look at how pecan nuts would fair when exposed to extreme scab pressure. While this provided us with great information on scab...

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Pecans, FSMA and GAPs, Oh My!

This spring I have attended a number of pecan and commodity meetings at the parish, state and regional level. As I have talked with growers and processors of various commodities, it has become apparent that Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/Good Handling Practices (GHP) Certification is gaining in importance and use across the nation. This type of...

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Late Summer Shuck and Nut Problems

Last month, Monte Nesbitt gave us an overview on the importance of maintaining good foliage in pecan trees and a description of the insects and diseases that can cause defoliation in pecan orchards in the southeastern U.S. I thought it would be a good idea to follow up his article with a discussion on shuck...

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Has rain washed away the pecan crop?

As I sit down to write this article, the spring season is coming to an end. Catkins have come and gone, and most trees are finished shedding pollen for the year. Normally, I would have spent the last couple of months watching my wife and kids suffer through another miserable allergy season in Louisiana. But...

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Marketing for the small pecan grower

Over the past few years, the U.S. pecan industry has seen continual growth and strengthening in the export market. Some credit has to be attributed to USDA programs that support American producers and businesses. Specialty Crop research grants and state Block Grants, crop insurance, and Foreign Agricultural Service marketing programs have all helped to strengthen...

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Did you forget about the FSMA?

Everyone has to do it. Papers pile up on your desk for a few weeks and you have to take some time to straighten up your mess before you get buried under it. As I was sorting through a rather large pile of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) materials, I realized it had been over...

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Can’t find a tree to buy? Grow your own!

Has anyone tried to buy a pecan tree lately? You almost need to hire a private investigator to track one down for you. I’ve been receiving numerous inquiries from growers frustrated with their search for the appropriate variety on the right rootstock. Because of the explosion in new pecan acreage the last few years, nurseries...

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A Season of Extremes

While growing up in Texas, I was used to hearing the phrase “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes — it’ll change!” A similar statement is credited to the legendary Will Rogers, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it’ll change.” However, this summer many pecan...

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Pesticide Drift Affecting Pecan Trees

With twin 5-year-old girls in the house, it is a pretty common occurrence for me to be reading a children’s book, including nursery rhymes. Most parents have probably read the poem: March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers. It’s a cute little poem, but after working in agriculture the last few years, a...

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New food safety regs on the horizon

As I sit down to write this article for Pecan South, we’ve just finished up the holiday season and the kids have started school again. It’s a new year and I was pondering the idea of actually choosing a new novel to read over the next few weeks, something I haven’t had the time to...

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2012: the year the minors went major

As I write this article, we are at the beginning of another pecan harvest season. ‘Pawnee’, ‘Candy’ and ‘Kanza’ have all initiated shucksplit before Sept. 1, 2012. Therefore much of a grower’s time over the next few weeks will be devoted to getting equipment ready to go out into the orchard. However, try to find...

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Aw Shucks! This Season Just Ain’t Normal

The last article I wrote discussed the flowering process in pecans and the different nut drop stages a grower could expect to observe through the spring and summer months. Now that we’ve managed to keep part of the crop on the trees until September, I thought we would spend some time discussing the effects of...

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How Will Weather Affect This Year’s Crop?

If you search on the internet for pecan pollination, you will generally find that pecan is referred to as a wind-pollinated, monoecious crop exhibiting heterodichogamy. What does that mean? Simply that pecan trees produce separate male and female flowers that mature at different times. When pollen is shed before the female flowers are receptive, the...

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The Importance Of Good Soil

Another year has passed us by and I’m sure you’ve heard or read many reflections on the events of 2010. As I sit here, pondering the last year’s pecan season, the overriding message has got to be “Wow, what a difference a year makes!!” Last year (January 2010) we were lamenting over the fact that...

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