Various Pecan Facts
Brazos Valley Pecans has benefitted greatly (as have pecan growers everywhere) from the breeding and cultivation of improved varieties of pecans by Texas A&M University. In addition, through its extensive network of research centers spread across Texas, Texas A&M scientists have identified insects and diseases affecting pecans with the intent of developing effective controls for both. Periodically Texas A&M presents educational courses to keep producers and buyers updated on its latest findings relating to new varieties, insect and disease control and marketing techniques. In a continuing attempt to identify varieties of pecans best suited to specific growing regions across Texas, (which vary greatly from the high, arid, but fertile plains of the Panhandle to the lush and humid lowlands near the Gulf of Mexico) Texas A&M has evaluated many pecans and categorized each of them by those characteristics which make them more suitable for one region than another. The Brazos River Valley crosses all of these regions and along its length you may find most of the following varietals (listed alphabetically): Apache, Barton, Brake, Burkett, Caddo, Cape Fear, Cherokee, Cheyeene, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clark, Comanche, Delmas, Desirable, Elliot, GraKing, GraTex, Halbert, Ideal, Imperial, John Garner, Kiowa, Kincaid, Mahan, McCulley, Mohawk, Moore, Nugget, No. 60, Odom, Onliwon, Pawnee, Peruque, Posdesnik, Ranger, Riverside, San Saba Improved, Schley, Seguin, Shawnee, Shoshoni, Sioux, Squirrel’s Delight, Stuart, Success, Tejas, Texas Prolific, Texhan, Western and Wichita. Not all discoveries concerning pecans occur in a university setting. The fortuitous discovery of the Burkett pecan was the result of someone noticing a difference in the nuts produced by a single tree and preserving those characteristics by pruning, grafting and budding native trees so as to establish the first improved pecan variety. Another discovery made purely by observation of nature was when someone noticed that trees growing from nuts planted in tin cans seemed to thrive much better than nuts planted in some soils along the Brazos River Valley. As it turned out the soil was deficient in zinc, a trace element in most, if not all, the soil in Texas. As you may remember from your science classes “tin” (as in tin can) is a compound composed of, in part, zinc. To this day zinc is applied to pecan trees in most commercial orchards during the spring of each year to assist with leaf growth and the overall health of the trees. In addition to Texas A&M, the Texas Agriculture and Extension Service collects statistics from producers each year in an attempt to forecast production conditions and predict yields. Since pecan trees often produce in a cycle which includes a producing year followed by a “resting” year marked by a considerable drop in production, this forecasting is a useful tool to producers wishing to even out their cash flow.