The 53rd annual pecan conference and trade show hosted by the Western Pecan Growers Association and New Mexico State University is scheduled for March 3-5 in Las Cruces.
An update on the western pecan weevil insect, how to estimate pecan water usage using local weather data and a discussion on the pecan marketing efforts will be among the presentations at this year’s conference.
“The conference is a really valuable opportunity for pecan farmers in the West to network and visit with other pecan farmers who are facing the same or maybe different management issues in their orchards,” said Richard Heerema, NMSUs pecan specialist. “It’s also a great way to meet with and get to know Extension specialists, researchers and other experts in the field you can go to with your pecan production questions.”
Registration starts at noon Sunday, March 3, and is followed by the equipment and trade show with vendors both inside and outside the hotel and a welcome reception.
The educational programs will be Monday and Tuesday and will include 13 presentations by experts from NMSU, the University of Arizona, Texas A&M University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, The Redding Firm, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the American Pecan Council and the U.S. Pecan Growers Council.
“We try to make the topics as diverse as possible for the current times,” Heerema said. “Extension Meteorologist Paul Brown from the University of Arizona is going to talk about using weather to determine how much water is needed and when it’s needed in a pecan orchard. Research Entomologist Ted Cottrell from the USDA will give a presentation about using plant bioregulators to manage black pecan aphids. He’s discovered that there are plant growth regulators that prevent black pecan aphids from doing damage that they normally do in orchards.”
Brad Lewis of the NMDA will give an update on the western pecan weevil, which is severely impacting southeastern states like Florida.
“West Texas and New Mexico have not been infected and they would like to stay weevil-free if they can, so they are very concerned,” said John M. White, director of the Western Pecan Growers Association. “If New Mexico did fall to the weevils that would cause a lot of problems with people selling their pecans out of the state. A lot of work is being done in the counties that do have weevils. You’re looking at several years of treatment to keep it out.”
A baking contest will be from 9 a.m.-noon the first day of the conference. 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 the website. The last day to register online is Wednesday, Feb. 27. After the deadline, registration will resume at the conference with a $50 increase.
Author: Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU