By Andy Sherrod, Orchard Manager
Looking Ahead To Harvest
Even though it’s still blistering hot outside, we at Royalty Pecan Farms consider August 1 the beginning of our harvest season, because when we shake that first tree in October we want to be prepared for efficiency and speed. According to the long-term weather forecasts, this winter will be wet. That means when the conditions allow, we’re going to have to move through the orchard quickly. Our goal for the next couple of months is to make sure the ground around the trees is well prepared for picking up pecans.
Much of our effort right now is spent smoothing out tractor ruts and mowing the grass. It’s true that we could mow right before harvest, but then we would have to contend with the thatch and weed stubble. That slows down the harvest equipment. So, by mowing now, and several more times over the next two months, the grass and weed clippings have had a chance to decompose, leaving a nice smooth harvest surface.
Also, we have started preparing our equipment. Invariably the harvest equipment needs work after sitting idle for the past eight months. We repair it then run it … hard. That’s right, we actually take it to the field and simulate a day of harvest. That way, we have time to fix anything that breaks.
One More Thing About Water
Our pecans are in the water stage right now. That’s when the pecan kernel (or what will become the kernel) is actually liquid water. This water will gradually thicken, and they will enter the dough stage by the end of the month. As this happens the shell starts to form and harden. In central Texas this shell hardening begins about mid August. So, if you have a few trees of your own, it is wise to pour on the water throughout the month of August so as to increase size. Watch the video below to see what pecans look like inside and out during the water stage at the end of summer.