New Pecan Variety Produces
By Ben Hardin
October 1, 1996
COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Oct.
1--Pecan growers as far north as Kansas can soon start growing a new pecan
variety, Kanza, whose early harvest could translate to premium prices by
beating other pecans to market, U.S. Department
of Agriculture scientists say.
Kanza could be ready for harvest as early as Sept. 10 in southern Texas and
by late September in Kansas, according to pecan geneticist Tommy E. Thompson of
USDA's Agricultural Research Service.
Young Kanza trees and graftwood should be available from commercial nurseries
Developed by USDA's Agricultural Research Service and state experiment
stations of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, the new tree is cold-tolerant and
produces nuts best suited for the shelling industry, Thompson says. That's
because they produce attractive halves that tend to stay intact during
Kanza also has natural resistance to diseases such as scab, fungal leaf
scorch and leaf and stem phylloxera, so growers can reduce chemical treatments.
As the first new cultivar since Kiowa--released in 1976--to produce
receptive female flowers before it produces pollen from male flowers, Kanza
should be a popular companion variety to early season pollinators such as
Pawnee. Pawnee also bears nuts early in the season, but a few days later than
Kanza. Other suitable companion varieties to help Kanza produce nuts with
hybrid vigor include Oconee, Osage, Major, Giles, Peruque and Dooley.
ARS researchers began developing Kanza in 1955 from a cross between the
Major and Shoshoni cultivars.
Pecans are a multimillion-dollar industry that provides primary or
supplemental income for rural landowners with orchards or woodlands pasture. In
1995, approximately 268 million pounds of pecans were produced nationally with
a value of about $272 million.
Scientific contact: Tommy E. Thompson, Crop Germplasm Research,
Southern Crops Research
Laboratory, ARS, USDA, College Station, Tex. 77879; phone (409) 272-1402.