By Clint Thompson
Two pecan cultivar releases by University of Georgia (UGA) pecan breeder Patrick Conner provide growers strong varieties to consider producing in their orchards.
“We’ve had good response with our first release of ‘Avalon’ in the pecan breeding program. That’s gotten to be pretty popular with the growers and the nurseries in the state. Last year we released our second release ‘Kalos’, which is becoming available now,” Conner said.
Conner said ‘Kalos’ is a Greek term that means beautiful, inside and out. It is a larger nut but doesn’t have the same tolerance of scab disease compared to ‘Avalon’.
“Where ‘Avalon’ generally does not scab, ‘Kalos’, you need to spray. But when you spray, it’s generally free from scab,” Conner said.
The two cultivars are examples of the challenge of being a pecan breeder in the No. 1 pecan-producing state in the country. There are multiple characteristics that growers desire in a pecan. These include size, scab resistance and early harvest time.
“It varies by the grower and the year. In a dry year they want a big nut. Then if you’re in a wet year they want scab resistance a little more. I have found that often times, there’s a number of traits that you can’t fall below a certain limit on any one trait. You can’t be too small. You can’t be too susceptible. Sometimes the best cultivars are those that are medium good at a lot of things,” Conner said.
But bigger can be better for some pecans, especially if growing to export overseas. Markets like China desire bigger pecans, which makes ‘Kalos’ a strong option.
“The bigger the size often times, the better price that you get for them, especially if they’re going to China. They like a big nut for that market,” said Conner.