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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Pecan Conference to Focus on Higher Yields

LAS CRUCES - Pecan growers can learn strategies for managing alternating heavy and light crops at the Western Pecan Growers Association Conference March 5-7 at the Hilton Las Cruces.

Both scientists and growers will discuss ways to deal with alternate bearing, said Esteban Herrera, horticulturist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. A large crop uses up the tree's store of energy, reducing the crop the following year.

"One solution to alternating crops is proper pruning" he said.

Good pruning techniques will allow more sunlight to penetrate trees so they produce more carbohydrates through photosynthesis. After a heavy crop trees are depleted of carbohydrates, lowering yields the next year, he said.

The three-day conference will begin with the Pecan Food Fantasy contest, featuring a dozen categories of homemade foods containing pecans. All entries are due on March 5 between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Samples of all entries and award results will be on display March 6.

Experts from New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma and Georgia will speak March 6-7. Topics to be discussed include pecan weevil in New Mexico; insecticide trials to control pecan nut casebearer; controlling stinkbugs and hickory shuckworm; orchard management practices and pecan marketing; training young pecan trees; new uses for pecans; use of edible coating to preserve pecans at room temperature; pruning and hedging strategies for mature orchards; nitrogen fertilizer ground cover interaction; and sunlight penetration in pecan orchards.

Registration for the conference will start at $70 for a single family or sole proprietor. There will be an additional $10 added for those who register after March 1.

For more information, contact Herrera at (505) 646-2921.