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Home | Tag Archives: el paso county pecans

Tag Archives: el paso county pecans

NMSU’s Pecan Conference to Host Regional Speakers

An update on the western pecan weevil insect, how farming is adapting to city standards and a discussion on the roots of pecan trees will be among the presentations at this year’s annual Western Pecan Growers Association conference and trade show March 4-6.

“Dona Ana County is the largest pecan-producing county in the nation, so there’s a greater concentration here than any other county in the country,” said Richard Heerema, New Mexico State University’s pecan specialist. “El Paso County also is the largest producing pecan county in Texas and one of the largest in the nation as well. It’s a very important crop for us locally and statewide – it is the top crop in the state.”

The conference and trade show will be hosted at Hotel Encanto, 705 S. Telshor Boulevard, with events beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 4, with a sponsored conference reception for attendees. Parking at the hotel is limited to hotel guests and vendors, but limited overflow parking can be found at the Mesilla Valley Mall where a shuttle will bring guests back and forth to the conference.

Heerema is the organizer of the conference’s educational program that will be on Monday and Tuesday. The program will include 17 presentations by experts from NMSU, the University of California, Texas A&M and the University of Arizona along with representatives from the American Pecan Council and U.S. Pecan Growers Council.

“We try to get a range of speakers who cover a lot of different topics and areas. We want to include some basic research, so we have some research presentations that will be presenting cutting-edge research that is happening in the pecan industry,” Heerema said, “including Professor Astrid Volder from the University of California, Davis who will talk about root biology. She studies how roots grow underground and that’s exciting because it is the least understood part of the tree.”

Along with the educational programs a trade show takes place both inside and outside of the hotel. Vendors are changed every year to make sure there’s a variety of items and equipment being sold.

“We’re going to have harvesters and equipment for picking pecans off the ground along with some bigger and longer tree shakers. We are also going to have some pretty large sprayers that hold about 1,000 gallons of spray material and it’s a runoff of the tractor’s power unit, so they can do the orchard spray in a relatively short amount of time,” said John M. White, director of the Western Pecan Growers Association.

A baking contest will also be held the first day of the conference. The contest is from 9 a.m. to noon, there is no cost to enter and prize money will be awarded for different categories.

For full information on the baking contest and a copy of the conference’s agenda, visit westernpecan.org or contact White directly at 575-640-7555 or director@westernpecan.org. Interested individuals and groups can register at the door with discounted rates offered for groups.

Author: Melissa R. Rutter -NMSU

Farmers Begin Pecan Harvest in El Paso County; 15m Pounds Expected from Region

As 2016 comes to an end, and many residents are in “Holiday mode,” El Paso County pecan farmers are hard at work, harvesting top quality pecans.

Many times when we think of pecans we tend to think of Las Cruces or Central Texas. As you enjoy a pecan pie this holiday season, chances are, the pecans were produced by a farmer in El Paso County.

El Paso County is home to the largest amount of acreage of “Improved Variety” pecans in the State of Texas which totals up to around 13,000 acres. An “improved variety” is normally a larger size pecan that is easy to shell, and may produce more pounds per acre.

Ceballos Pecan Farm – Fabens
Ceballos Pecan Farm – Fabens

A late rain and a late freeze delayed farmers from harvesting earlier this season, which normally starts in November. This year’s harvest will again prove to be very productive for local farmers.

Most local commercial pecan operations are now completely mechanized. A tree shaker obviously is used to shake the tree; a sweeper puts the nuts in a windrow, followed by a harvester that picks up the nuts.

From that point, the nuts are sent to the pecan cleaning plant, they are graded, and off to the market they go.

It is estimated that Texas will produce 40 million pounds of pecans this season in which 20 million pounds will come from West Texas (Ft. Stockton, Van Horn, El Paso).

Out of those 20 million, El Paso County will likely produce about 15 million pounds.

Author:  Orlando O. Flores M.S. , County Extension Agent

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service – El Paso County

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