Pecan Research

E. J. Kyle, Dean, School of Agriculture, A. &M. College, College Station, Texas The Horticultural Department of the A. &M. College of Texas has been giving special instructions to Agricultural students on pecan culture for the past eighteen or twenty years. About ten years ago a full course of pecan culture was developed. This is the only course of its kind given anywhere in the world. The interest in this course has developed very rapidly. There were only a few students who took the work at first, but during the past session forty-five men registered for the work. The course is made up of one lecture period each week and four hours of practice. In the lecture work an attempt is made to cover every phase of the pecan industry, while in the practice work the students are given careful and thorough instruction in all the methods of propagating the pecan, of planting out and developing the orchards, spraying, pruning, and the like. At the close of each term, it has been my practice for a number of years to pick out a half dozen of the young men who have shown the greatest skill in their work and send them out into different sections of the State to do top-working of native pecans to improved varieties, where there has been a demand for this service. In order to encourage the work, they are only allowed to charge about half the amount charged by professional propagators. As a result of this special training given in the Horticultural Department at the college, we have young men in practically every section of the State who have expert knowledge of the pecan industry, and who are engaged either for themselves or for the State in top-working and the nursery work. Such men as R. S. Miller of Gillespie County, F. R. Brison of San Saba County, and W. Z. Miller of Junction County, who have been directing the great budding campaigns recently, received their training at the A. &M. College. There are about 1.000 acres of pecan land on the Medina Dam Irrigation System that is being brought back into cultivation after having been abandoned for several years. The trees are being cultivated, the seedlings are being rebudded to improved varieties and a small nursery is being developed. This work is being done by Mr. James Rosborough and Mr. Ross Brison.  Both of them are graduates of the college, and both of them were sent out on special pecan work during their summer vacations while students at the college. The University of Florida has recently employed a pecan expert. This man is Mr .G. H. Blackmon, one of the first horticultural students of the college to specialize in pecans. Mr. Blackmon, while a student at the college, was sent to Rusk, Texas, and gave Judge Frank Guinn his first instruction in working on hickory stock. Judge Guinn now has the finest lot of pecans on hickory stock of any man in this country. Mr. Romberg, pecan specialist, with the State Department of Agriculture, received his training at the A. &M. College. In order to exert a still wider influence in the training of people in the important work of pecans, the writer of this article, in co-operation with Director Stuckey of Georgia, has prepared a book on pecans, which will appear in the next few months as one of the Rural Science Series. This book will be a complete treatise on the subject of pecans. With the rapid increase in the number of students taking the work in pecans; with the information being given out through the County Agents and with the work being done by the State Department of Agriculture, it is the writer's opinion that it will be only a few years when there will be hundreds of persons in this State well trained in pecan work.

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