The Importance of Diverse Genetics in the Pecan Industry
“The future of the pecan industry is actually within the genetics and so we need to utilize the genetics, the diversity of the genetics in order to be able to make regional trees for regional adaptation. That way with the increased cost of inputs, and lack of water availability and differences in temperature, it's important that we use the genetics,” said Randall.
Randall speaks about the priorities in the genetic research in pecans.
“For the short term we want disease resistant trees such as scab resistance, and salinity tolerance for the West. And it would be a game changer for pecan if we get tree size control and of course keep that production strong,” noted Randall. With size control, you could plant more trees, decrease some of the inputs, but increase production eventually.
And researchers have a lot to work with. There is an enormous amount of genetic material.
“We have the USDA germ plasma repository, and it is amazing because the natural pecan forests are gone. And so that repository hosts the genetics from Mexico all the way up through Missouri,” Randall explained.