It is important in any agricultural operation to use every tool in the toolbox. Things such as industry developments, research findings, changes to regulations and weather can affect operations, making it hard to stay informed. Typically, educational events and state conventions keep pecan producers informed. However, this year many of those events have been canceled or postponed in a world trying to learn to social distance.
Online resources are a great place to find the latest information on production and industry developments. If you have not explored these options, now is the perfect time.
Pecan Grower’s Toolbox
The Pecan Grower’s Toolbox offers insecticide and herbicide databases, and new features are coming soon. The toolbox will be helpful to those trying to build a proper spray program as part of an integrated pest management program and those looking to maximize output while controlling input.
The insecticide database provides information such as chemical and trade names. Class and IRAC Mode of Action (MoA) allow you to plan the rotation of chemicals so a targeted pest does not build up resistance. If you are organic certified, you will need to know if a chemical is listed for organic use; the OMRI listing provides this information. A labeled pest column allows you to see the entire list of targeted pests. Grazing restriction information is available if you graze under trees.
When building an insecticide spray program, it is important to keep several factors in mind. Many beneficial insects live in your orchard or grove. We want to target insects that are causing significant crop damage. Beneficial insects are predators to insects that cause damage to the crop or tree. We also need to remember to rotate chemical modes of action so we do not build up a tolerance or lead to an insect population becoming resistant.
The herbicide database provides you with a wealth of knowledge including chemical and trade names. Searchable fields let you search by the weeds you are trying to control or suppress. The Site of Action column lists the category rating so you can make decisions in regards to rotating chemicals. We have also included orchard type to show if a chemical is safe for the age of trees you are spraying. Proper management of weeds in your orchard can decrease labor and improve the efficiency of your orchard.
Both of these databases, which are reviewed and updated annually by industry experts, provide producers with information to make economical and efficient decisions for their operations.
Databases to Come
A fungicide database will provide a list of fungicides, grazing restrictions and the chemicals labeled for organic production. Classes will also be noted so that a chemical rotation can be developed. All of these are important to consider when building a fungicide spray program.
A disease database will have pictures and information to help you identify disease issues on trees.
A cultivar database will include pictures and historical production records of various cultivars. You will be able to select the cultivar that is best suited for your region and operation.
An insect image gallery will provide pictures and damage descriptions to help you identify damage in your orchard and offer potential solutions.
While all of these resources might help you with your decisions, please remember you can always contact a pecan specialist at Noble Research Institute or a local specialist in your region. If you choose to sign up as a cooperator with Noble Research Institute, you can receive one-on-one consultation free of charge.
The pecan industry has a few blogs that are full of very useful information for a grower.
William Reid, Ph.D., retired Kansas and Missouri pecan research and extension specialist, writes a blog at https://northernpecans.blogspot.com/. He provides regular insight into his activities managing his pecan orchard, such as cultivar selection, tree and pest management, and many other topics affecting a pecan operation.
Lenny Wells, Ph.D., University of Georgia professor of horticulture and extension horticulture specialist for pecans, also has a great blog: https://site.extension.uga.edu/pecan/author/lwells/. He shares many useful tips on pecan management practices.
Bob Whitney, executive director of the Texas Pecan Board, blogs at https://www.texaspecanboard.com/blog/. He also provides great insight and information about pecans.
While some of the blog information may be specific to a region, most of it is relatable to all pecan growers.
Webinars and Videos
Many of the state extension services are starting to offer webinars, and many have educational videos for growers to watch on various topics.
Noble Research Institute also has videos covering grafting, pecan management, irrigation and leaf sampling. You can view them at bit.ly/noble-pecans-yt.
Social media is another source of information for pecan growers. You can find current pecan news and information by following the two social media accounts that I manage for Noble: @pecanpieces on Twitter and @noble_pecanpieces on Instagram.
You can also find and follow other pecan growers on social media to form an online community. You may find that you are going through the same challenges and hardships as others. Facebook has many pages for pecan operations and state and national associations. Through social media, we have been able to reach producers locally and worldwide.
Online Newsletters and Magazines
You can search our Noble News and Views newsletter for many articles on topics of interest. Search for pecans and you will get a lengthy list of articles on pecan establishment, production, research, etc.
Other great online sources for information are the electronic version of Pecan South Magazine (https://www.pecansouthmagazine.com/#) and The Pecan Grower (https://georgiapecan.org/magazine/), published by the Georgia Pecan Growers Association. Both have information on industry news and events, market-related issues, and international interest in the American nut. Another industry source is the American Pecan Council website: www.americanpecan.com.
Remember to Verify Information
Many online resources exist for pecan growers. State extension services, state associations and Noble Research Institute, along with many others, all have many resources. I would caution you to remember not everything you read on the internet is reliable information. Verify sources and always use one of the oldest tools in a grower’s toolbox, common sense.
Read more in the September issue of Oklahoma Farm & Ranch.