Natchitoches Pecans Participates in Tri-State Pecan Conference in June

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Members of the Natchitoches Pecans team attended the annual conference to learn more about new developments and techniques for pecan growers and the outlook for the upcoming pecan growing season.

This past June, the annual Tri-State Pecan Conference was held in Natchez, Mississippi. Pecan growers from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas attended the event, which included an orchard tour, business meetings, and seminars.

The conference kicked off with a tour of The Company Farm, a 640-acre pecan orchard in Baskin, Louisiana. Tom Childress, manager of The Company Farm, discussed the varieties of pecans growing on his farm, his farming practices, and his goal of starting a hedging regime by choosing certain pecan varieties to control problems such as scab. Hedging, according to Childress, is important because you “can’t spray your way out of a problem, you have to plant your way out.”

Childress detailed the varieties of pecans on his farm, including Desirable, Elliott, Stuart, and Creek. While Childress predicts a low-yield year this year because of an abundance of rain, the orchard’s ultimate goal is to produce 2000 pounds per acre. Harvest season begins in August when the orchards are cleaned and the grass is cut, and picking begins in October.

After the orchard tour, conference attendees were provided with lunch at the orchard and then headed back to Natchez for business meetings and an evening reception.

The second day of the conference consisted of educational seminars covering a variety of topics, from leaf scorch, fungicides, and problem and beneficial pests, to pecan allergen research and updates on the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). It was announced the USDA and LSU Ag Center have teamed up to study pecan allergens, in order to find a way to remove pecan allergens without affecting the makeup of the pecan trees.

Wrapping up the conference was the always much-anticipated pecan guesstimate of the season from Ben Littlepage. He estimated that the U.S. crop this year would total 283 million pounds. The state by state estimated prediction is as follows:

Alabama - 19 million
Arizona - 25 million
Arkansas - 1 million
California - 6 million
Florida - 0.5 million
Georgia - 80.0 million
Kansas - 0.5 million
Louisiana - 4 million
Mississippi - 1 million
New Mexico - 70 million
N. Carolina - 0.5 million
Oklahoma - 35 million
S. Carolina - 0.5 million
Texas - 40 million

About Natchitoches Pecans

Established in 1987, Natchitoches Pecans is a family owned and operated pecan orchard. Mark Swanson sees to the everyday operations, his wife, Julie, takes care of Little Eva's Pecan Store and the mail-order business, and their mothers, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews all help wherever needed. Natchitoches Pecans is proud to provide high-quality, gourmet Louisiana pecans for all of its customers.

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Julie Swanson
since: 04/2010
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Natchitoches Pecans, Inc.
since: 04/2010
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