By Julia Rodriguez
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension will host the Beginners Pecan Production Course on Tuesday, April 18, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.
Those interested can preregister for the event by calling Debbie Rutland at (229) 386-3424. Before the day of the event, the cost to attend is $10. Registration the day of the event is $15. The program begins a 9 a.m. and will continue all day. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
Those interested can also register at http://bit.ly/2nKhLV9. Preregistration is recommended because a crowd of 300 – the maximum capacity – is expected to be in attendance.
Primarily geared toward new growers, the course will cover topics like costs of production, fertilization, irrigation, disease management, equipment needs and requirements for planting the orchard.
UGA Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells will moderate the course and encourages all pecan farmers to attend. The latest variety trial research being conducted on the UGA Tifton campus will be included in the presentation, as will new techniques that farmers can use for successful crop production.
“Last year, many people who had already been growing pecans for years came (to the course). Everyone seemed to take something useful from it,” Wells said. “The pecan industry continues to grow exponentially in Georgia. A course like this allows us to teach young farmers about pecans and what it takes to grow and produce them.”
Wells will be one of the many UGA experts in attendance to talk about pecan production. He’ll speak about production costs, irrigation requirements of pecan trees, fertilization, equipment needs and pecan tree orchard establishment.
Patrick Conner, a pecan breeder on the UGA Tifton campus, will address different varieties available to farmers, including ‘Avalon,’ his newest release. It will be available to farmers this spring.
Tim Grey, Extension weed specialist, will address pecan producers’ potential weed control needs. Will Hudson, Extension entomologist, will cover insects that impact pecan production. Jason Brock, Extension plant pathologist, will talk about disease management.
“As farmers will see by the agenda, there’s a lot to cover because there’s much to consider if you’re thinking about becoming a pecan farmer. There are many variables, not to mention the fact that you’re not going to start producing fruit for at least six to eight years,” Wells said. “Can you live without a crop for that long before seeing a financial return? That’s an important fact that producers have to be aware of.”
Pecans are a highly valuable crop in Georgia. According to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, the farm gate value for pecans in 2015 was $361.3 million. Pecans were grown on 165,301 acres and accounted for 51.14 percent of the value of all fruits and nuts in Georgia.
(Julia Rodriguez is an intern on the UGA Tifton Campus.)
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