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New Pecan Tree Bears Fruit Every Year

By Linda McGraw
July 27, 1999

Pecan lovers will appreciate the fruits of a new pecan variety that produces large nuts with halves that stay intact during shelling. Named “Hopi,” the new variety was developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers and the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

Researchers with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service developed Hopi from a cross between Schley, a commercially popular variety, and McCulley, a central Texas native variety. ARS is the chief research agency of USDA.

Hopi’s performance has been extensively tested and evaluated for 45 years. Yields from Hopi tree plantings are equal to Kanza and Creek, which were previously developed and released by ARS and cooperating state experiment stations. Hopi’s strength is a uniform nut production from year to year, thus overcoming a main problem in pecan production: trees that bear fruit every other year.

Pecans are a multimillion-dollar industry. Rural landowners in the southwest and southeast derive primary or supplemental income from growing pecan trees in orchards or woodland pastures. In 1998, U.S. pecan production was about 155 million pounds with a value of nearly $191 million.

Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Louisiana are the top five pecan-producing states. Annual fall nut shows are conducted in 100 of 214 Texas counties. This year, Hopi has been a consistent winner in Texas regional and county pecan shows.

Budwood and graftwood from Hopi will be available to nurseries in February 2000. USDA does not distribute trees. Plants of this release will be deposited in the National Plant Germplasm System where they will be available for research purposes.

Scientific contact: Tommy E. Thompson, ARS Crop Germplasm Research Unit, College Station, Texas; phone (409) 272-1402, fax (409) 272-1401,