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Going Nuts For Pecans

Posted Oct. 18, 2019

The pecan is North America’s only native, commercially produced tree nut. It is gaining greater popularity across both the U.S. and the world. The nutrient-dense snack is not only tasty. It holds potential to increase the profitability and sustainability of landowners. Noble Research Institute is a leading resource for growers and other pecan scientists who are continually working to improve the industry.

Charlie Graham, Ph.D., senior pecan specialistCharlie Graham, Ph.D., senior pecan specialist

Meet the Noble Experts

Of the 10 horticulturists who specialize in pecans in the U.S., two work at Noble Research Institute: Charles Rohla, Ph.D., pecan and specialty agriculture systems manager, and Charlie Graham, Ph.D., (pictured above) senior pecan specialist. Graham was hired in 2018. His research focuses on factors that influence quality and nut loss; profitability of crop production; crop, soil and water issues; and potential new pecan varieties.

A heart-healthy crop

The pecan contains more than 19 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B and zinc. This super nut is the most antioxidant-rich nut in the world, and it has been connected to reductions in LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol.

Pecan Research at Noble

Noble researchers from across the organization focus on critical issues relating to disease pressure, propagation and management practices. Their quest for answers aims at delivering solutions for challenges like pecan scab and alternate bearing — the phenomenon in which trees across the country experience the same cycle of heavy then light production every other year.



75%
Native Pecan Trees

Of the

104,000
acres used for pecan production in Oklahoma, about three-fourths are native.


3x
Within the next 10 years, improved pecan production is expected to triple.

The U.S. consumes about

8%
more pecans than it produces.


Only about 40 percent of native pecan trees in Oklahoma are harvested and even less are managed for peak production.

Encouraging landowners to manage native groves could double how much of this heart-healthy nut the state produces. It would also increase landowners’ profitability and sustainability through operational diversification.

Pecan growers received the latest information in research and technology through

68
educational workshops, tours, presentations, interviews and articles developed by Noble consultants.

In 2018, U.S. pecan growers produced

221 million
pounds valued at

$423 million
according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.

Production was down because of Hurricane Michael in Georgia (50-60 million pounds lost) as well as too much rainfall and lack of sunlight in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana (20-30 million pounds lost).

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