[NAFEX] Fwd: ARS to Release Early-Maturing Pecan

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Tue Jul 21 10:10:38 EDT 2009

Begin forwarded message:

From: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>
Date: July 21, 2009 6:45:51 AM PDT
Subject: ARS to Release Early-Maturing Pecan
Reply-To: ARS News Service <NewsService at ars.usda.gov>

ARS to Release Early-Maturing Pecan


ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Dennis O'Brien, (301) 504-1624, dennis.obrien at ars.usda.gov
July 21, 2009
--View this report online, plus photos and related stories, at 


When it comes to pecans, timing is crucial. Breeders and retailers 
prefer pecans that mature quickly because the earlier they hit store 
shelves each fall, the better they sell.

An Agricultural Research Service (ARS) variety known as Pawnee has been 
a top seller since its release in 1984 because it is ready for sale by 
the first part of October, according to Tommy E. Thompson, an ARS pecan 
breeder and geneticist at the agency's Crop Germplasm Research Unit in 
College Station, Texas.

But Thompson is releasing a new cultivar this spring that he is 
confident will beat Pawnee to market each year. Mandan, one of two new 
pecan cultivars, is bred to mature about a week earlier than Pawnee.

Thompson also is releasing Apalachee, a small pecan bred for baking and 
manufacturing. But he expects Mandan to be more widely distributed 
because of its early maturity, nut size and ability to resist scab 
disease, a fungal pathogen that blackens nuts and can severely damage 
trees. Growers in Georgia sometimes spray fungicides up to 15 times a 
year to control scab disease.

ARS has released 28 pecan varieties since 1953, and since 1955 has 
named them all for Native American tribes, a nod to the nut's status as 
a North American native, according to Thompson. Pecans grow from Texas 
and Mexico north to Illinois and east to Georgia, and sales generate 
$500 million each year.

The new releases are the result of intensive testing that began in the 
1980s, when clones were evaluated in greenhouses and planted in 
orchards for 10 years of screening. Selections that performed best were 
planted in orchards throughout the Pecan Belt for further evaluations.

In keeping with ARS policies that allow public access to its germplasm 
and cultivars, Thompson is distributing graftwood free to nurseries and 
breeders. It usually takes two to three years for nurseries to develop 
trees ready for sale to homeowners and commercial growers.

ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency in the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture.


This is one of the news reports that ARS Information distributes to 
subscribers on weekdays. Send feedback and questions to the ARS News 
Service at NewsService at ars.usda.gov.

ARS News Service, Information Staff, Agricultural Research Service
5601 Sunnyside Ave., Room 1-2251, Beltsville MD 20705-5128
NewsService at ars.usda.gov | www.ars.usda.gov/news
Phone (301) 504-1636 | fax (301) 504-1486

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