Randolph Terrell, Manager Gold Kist Pecan Growers, Seguin, Texas
I have been asked to participate on this panel to discuss varieties in the Seguin-Gonzales area. Personally, I favor a small, fancy shelling type pecan. However, I am disregarding my personal preference. Instead, I am pointing out two divisions of pecan production known as the "shelling” and the "inshell trade" divisions.
Not enough testing has been done on shelling varieties in this area to make a proper report or to choose between varieties of this class.
Let us consider how our inshell varieties are sold on the national market. Only a small percentage of the more than 100 named varieties are kept separate and sold by name. Mixed varieties, as well as dicriminated varieties, or little known varieties, are thrown together and sold as blends. All varieties are sized, graded, and sold accordingly. The blends invariably bring the lowest price in the particular size and grade being offered. Therefore, I recommend that we stay with our standard well-known varieties until something superior is introduced and proven in enough localities to build a volume sufficient to justify processors and wholesalers to establish it on the market. Otherwise they will be blended and sold on a low market. I am not saying that we should not experiment with a few new varieties, for this is the only way to find something better. The Guadalupe Pecan Growers Association has secured a three-acre plot of land on the Guadalupe River from the City of Seguin. We have planted this plot in native trees. When these trees are large enough, they will be topworked to new varieties in order that they may be evaluated before our growers propagate them in their groves.
Another point to consider in selecting a variety is the drop in consumption of inshell pecans. In 1948, a good crop year, 18.1% of all pecans produced were sold in the shell. By 1952, another good crop year, 16.7% were sold in the shell. From this you can see that the sale of inshell varieties is dropping each year. We should, therfore, select inshell varieties that have good cracking qualities so that they may be used for either purpose.
Productivity is of great importance. Therefore, we must strike a balance to compensate high or medium production against the other characteristics to evaluate a variety. The near perfect variety for our area has not been found. But with the above points in mind, I am prepared to choose the following two varieties which in my estimation have proved worthy of propagation in the Seguin-Gonzales Area at the present:
- Success---a pecan that is well known on the market, has excellent size, generally good quality, and is a medium bearer.
- Desirable---a pecan that is well known on the market has excellent size, excellent quality, good production, relatively good disease resistance, and good shelling quality. For these reasons it may be sold either in the shell or as a shelled product.
I place the Desirable as my preference of the two because of its production and shelling quality.
You will be wise to choose other varieties if they produce better on your place than Success and Desirable. This is particularly true if you have a specialty market for your varieties.