Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES - New Mexico pecan growers can enter their prize nuts in an international pecan show held during the annual Western Pecan Growers' Association conference March 2-4 at the Hilton Las Cruces.
To compete, growers must submit a sample of at least 40 pecans before Feb. 7, said Esteban Herrera, conference coordinator and emeritus horticulturist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.
Pecans can be entered in one of six categories: 'Western Schley', 'Wichita', improved varieties other than 'Western Schley' or 'Wichita', known hybrids, seedlings and native pecans. A $100 grand prize will be awarded to the best overall entry.
'Western Schley' and 'Wichita' pecan varieties will be the main categories for the contests because they are the most widely planted in the Western region. "If you think you have a good pecan sample and don't know the variety name, send it anyway, and we'll put your entry in the correct contest division," Herrera said.
Pecans will be judged on kernel percentage, color and uniformity. Contest entrants should harvest immediately following a nut drop to prevent pecan kernels from rotting in wet soil and to preserve the nut's golden color by minimizing sun exposure.
For a shot at becoming top nut, Herrera suggested collecting samples from young trees because they tend to produce heavier and bigger nuts. Pecans should be picked from trees with a light pecan crop to ensure an above-average kernel percentage and should not have green shucks, he said.
"Pecans entered in the contest should look natural, and entrants should not alter the appearance of the nuts by rubbing or polishing," Herrera said. "Also, nuts should be uniform in size and from the same variety."
Mail pecan entries to New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30003, MSC 3AE, Las Cruces, NM, 88003. For more information concerning the international pecan show, call Mary Curtis at (505) 646-5280.
© 2013 New Mexico State University Board of Regents
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