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Going "Nuts"

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Growing up in southwest Oklahoma, I had little appreciation for pecans. My grandparents have a few trees on their place, and I remember them gathering pecans for Thanksgiving pecan pie when I was a child, but overall my perception of the industry was that it was small, perhaps nonexistent.

As I enter my third week at The Noble Research Institute as a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture, I have learned more about pecans than I ever imagined possible.

It started with a quick trip to the farm with Charles Rohla, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Noble Research Institute. A few of the scholars were sitting in the office one day when he came in and asked if we'd like to get out for a bit. Avonlea, Courtney, Conner and I obliged, and, before we knew it, we were watching the making of a how-to video on pecan grafting.

While totally out of my personal agricultural spectrum, I must say it was impressive. It only seems logical, but who knew you could tape (literally, duct tape) two branches together and they would fuse into one? Let me clarify that it does take some practice and skill, but in general is pretty simple for a scientific procedure. I hear that later on we will be trying some grafting of our own.

morgan with pecans

My next little run-in with pecans presented itself in the form of a research project. Working with Charles, the scholar team is conducting an experiment to look at the relationship of nut size and growth. On Tuesday, we spent the day planting 400 samples made up of two different varieties (Pawnee and Kanza). Each nut had to be weighed and measured before planting, so the process was quite lengthy.


Soon we will be visiting our pecan plantings in the greenhouse as often as three times a week. It's interesting to learn about something I don't have any background in. I guess I will be doing a lot of that this summer.

Morgan Hannabass is a 2014 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture from Indiahoma, Oklahoma.