Noble Research Institute Focuses on Pecan Research to Help Producers Meet a Growing DemandWed, 20 Sep 2017 15:09:59 CDT
The American Pecan Council met recently in Ardmore, Okla. at the Noble Research Institute. During that meeting, NRI’s Pecan and Specialty Agriculture Systems Manager Dr. Charles Rohla, presented to the council members about projects on which the Institute and the Council could potentially collaborate. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays was there and took the opportunity to speak with Rohla about his current work with pecans. You can listen to their entire conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
“Noble has been involved with pecan research and education since ’76 when we bought our first farm with pecans and we’ve had a lot of influence in Oklahoma and north Texas,” Rohla said, and explained how the Institute’s has recently began to increase its work with pecans, with nearly half a dozen forage-focused researchers at Noble, turning their attention to better understanding the nut. “Our mission is to be the leading experts for pecan research and extension - and that’s what we’re shooting for.”
Thus far, the researchers at Noble have started to look closely at the plant’s root structure, its functions and some of the microorganisms in the soil that have an impact on pecans. One major breakthrough has already been discovered by Noble’s researchers that could potentially help pecan producers significantly in battling disease.
“We got one of our pathologists that had been working on tall fescue to start looking at scab,” the No. 1 disease problem for pecan growers that has always been thought to reproduce asexually, Rohla said. “Being a true pathologist, she questioned that and literally within six months, she discovered (it was) mating. So, if we can understand when the mating is occurring, we can treat for it and prevent the early outbreaks and have a better handle on scab management in the orchard.”
Rohla attests that the pecan industry is growing and Noble sees an opportunity to conduct the needed research on pecans that land grant universities aren't currently able to commit their resources to. He says, improving the future of the pecan industry lies in producers’ ability to master the pecan’s growing systems to best manage their orchards.
“That’s why we formed the Systems Group. We have to educate the landowners that if they take better care of their pecan trees, that there’s a large potential for profits there,” he concluded. “We need to develop those systems and show people how to do those correctly, to have the best outcome.”
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