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Growers Can Enter Pecans in Regional Show

LAS CRUCES -- Pecan growers can enter their best produce in the pecan show held during the Western Pecan Growers' Association Conference March 8-10 in Las Cruces.

Growers are encouraged to send nut samples for competition with other growers in the Western region, said Esteban Herrera, horticultural specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. The deadline for entries is Feb. 20.

On March 8, the samples will be judged on kernel percent, color and uniformity at the Hilton Hotel in Las Cruces.

Nuts can be entered in one of five categories: Western Schley; Wichita; improved varieties other than Western Schley or Wichita; known hybrids; and seedlings and native pecans. The best entry overall will receive a $100 grand prize.

Samples from commercial orchards or backyard trees can be entered in this annual event.

Entry forms are available in county Extension offices. Herrera offers growers the following tips for selecting their show sample:

* Select nuts from young trees when possible, because they tend to be bigger than those from old, established trees.
* Pick nuts from trees with a light pecan crop.
* Harvest immediately following nut drop. Kernel color will be better.
* Do not select nuts with green shucks.
* Prevent nuts from getting wet prior to harvest.
* Do not alter the appearance of the nuts by rubbing or polishing.
* Make an effort to select a sample of nuts that are uniform in size.

Growers should send a sample of at least 40 nuts by Feb. 20 to Javier Vargas, Dona Ana County Extension, 808 North Alameda, Las Cruces, NM, 88005; or Esteban Herrera, Cooperative Extension Service, Box 30003, Dept. 3AE, Las Cruces, NM, 88003-8003.

For more information or entry forms, contact Vargas at (505) 525-6649, Herrera at (505) 646-2921 or your local county Extension office.