I continue from my July article with comments on cultivars that we offer from our nursery. Again, these are my opinions based on my experience, as well as other data and shared observations from here in South Georgia.
First off," Old School":
One of the most prolific, if not the most prolific producer, of the prominent cultivars grown in the southeast since the 1970s. Cape Fear is well known for its capabilities of high per-acre yields with good nut size and meat yields. 1 ton per acre of counts in the upper 40's and meats in the 52-55% range have been obtained commonly here. It has a defined market domestic and abroad. Medium to standard fungicide regimens are successful for scab control. Fruit load management in excessive crop years is necessary and very effective via trunk shaking or hedging programs to stabilize the annual product run. Pecan bacterial leaf scorch can be problematic to varying degrees and it is the only reason that I no longer plant Cape Fear at my location. Pecan Bacterial Leaf Scorch is not as much a problem in other locations like central Georgia as it is in an extreme South Georgia. What about Cape Fear in western regions? It is a very vigorous grower, precocious, and exhibits high yields in the East. Has it been applied in western regions? Outside of PBLS problems, Cape Fear is still a very profitable option.
The biggest knock you will hear on Sumner is that it comes off late in the season. Well, something has to come in last. Late is good when you have something else to be harvesting while Sumner is still maturing, it gives harvest timing diversity. Many years Sumner has not been negatively affected by timing whatsoever. This potential liability of market decline for late-season can be reckoned by marketing later by using cold storing. Sumner has consistent yields of good quality and quantity. I have averaged greater long term profits with Sumner on this farm than any other major standard-type cultivar since 1995. It has other negatives such as black aphids, but its positives have, by far, outweighed them. Proven and known, Sumner has a fit on any farm.
A somewhat old school variety by now. Caddo is a “premium" type cultivar with the production characteristics of a "commercial" type cultivar. By this, I mean that you can expect much higher precocity and acreage yields than average, but it has the ability to make a kernel worthy of top gift pack markets. Early October maturity gets it into early markets. Caddo shells high % halves that are of high quality. It is a vigorous tree with a need for good disease management, but certainly manageable. 60-65 count with 55-57% meats. Again, I wonder why this cultivar has not found a fit in the central and western regions? Although it has a great application in the East, I actually think it could even be better out y’all's way.
This is relatively a new cultivar. It is a grower selection patented by Ellis Bros. Pean in Vienna, Ga. They have observed the cultivar for over 30 years and released it within the last 10 years. I have some planted and have high hopes for it as it looks impressive up to this point in its youth.
The known positive facts of it, coupled with the low incidence of known negatives, is all the encouragement I need to give it a shot. Low to mid 40's count, 56-57% meat yields with top-notch kernel. Scab control has been excellent under a standard program, black aphids have been present but very manageable. Ellis has a nice growth habit and has been on par with the precocity of comparable varieties such as Sumner, and Desirable. It has shown an ability to produce large crops of excellent quality. I expect it to be mostly consistent in bearing with an occasional heavy crop that might need fruit thinning. Harvest date coincides with Desirables maybe just a little ahead of the big push in the market.
I have only planted about 10 acres of Nacono and that was in 2016 on a mediocre soil, so my personal experience is very limited, what I have seen is highly encouraging. Nacono has a large size with low 40's counts with mid 50's % meat yield. The trees have been noted in Tifton, Ga trials to be somewhat smaller than comparably aged cultivars- a plus for
higher density, aggressive hedging application. Scab susceptibility has been very low to above average, certainly, it will require at least a standard to moderately aggressive regimen here. Fruit load will need to be managed some years- I suggest it as a prime candidate for hedging fruit load management to obtain the greatest potential. Admittedly, I think there are some mysteries to uncover with this one - some bad and some good, but I have a gut feeling that it will prove to be much more than just tolerable - to the plus side. A Nacono tree with a crop on it is just simply impressive and intriguing. It's a lot like a 4-year-old boy in 1981 seeing Daisy Duke on TV, you just can't forget that, ever.
There are some of my thoughts from today on a few more cultivars until next month. I appreciate you taking the time to consider these writings and I always invite your comments and observations as well. Give us a call or please come by for a visit if you want to see examples of any of this in live action.
Shiloh Pecan Farms, Inc.