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 next winter.
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 shelling.
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.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Contact for details Tommy E. Thompson, Crop Germplasm Research, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, College Station, Tex. 77879. Telephone: (409) 272-1402.