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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Pecan Growers Have Chance for International Recognition

LAS CRUCES--Local growers should set aside nut samples now for the chance to win during the 2001 International Pecan Show at the Western Pecan Growers Association Conference March 4-6 at the Hilton Las Cruces.

Entries are accepted from pecan growers anywhere in the world. The pecans must come from this season's crop and be grown by the person entering them. A sample with a minimum of 40 pecans from the same tree should be submitted. Deadline for receiving nut samples is Feb. 9.

"Western Schley and Wichita pecan varieties will be the main categories for the contest because they are the most widely planted in the Western region," said Esteban Herrera, horticulture specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.

Other improved varieties, seedlings and natives will make up the remaining categories. The best of show entry receives a $100 prize.

Herrera suggests collecting a sample from young trees because they usually produce heavier and bigger nuts. The nuts also should be picked from trees with a light pecan crop to ensure an above-average kernel percentage, he said.

Entrants should harvest immediately following nut drop to prevent pecan kernels from rotting when soils are wet. This also helps to preserve the nuts' golden color by minimizing sun exposure.

"You should avoid nuts with green shucks," Herrera said. "They may not be fully developed or they may have some cork-like material stuck to the kernels."

When choosing which nuts to enter, entrants should not alter the appearance of the nuts by rubbing or polishing. Pecans should look natural. Nuts should be from a sample that is uniform in size and from the same variety.

"If you think you have a good pecan sample and do not know the variety name, send it anyway," Herrera said. "We will determine that and put your entry in the correct division."

Mail entries to Herrera at Box 3AE, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM, 88003 or to John White, Doņa Ana County Extension office, 808 N. Alameda Blvd., Las Cruces, NM, 88005. For more information, call Herrera at (505)646-2921 or White at (505)525-6649.