“Treating some of our orchards with Sysstem-Pecan™ and other Sysstem® Series foliar nutrients in 2014 gave the trees better health and vibrancy with a longer growth season than we saw in the orchards that weren’t treated. We hope that a late-season Sysstem-Pecan™ treatment will help reduce the alternate bearing we normally would expect to see in 2015.”
-Kyle Sommer, Newington, GA
The ground that hosts the John Emory Pryor Farms near Newington, Georgia has been a family operation for many generations of Pryors. Throughout that history success has hinged on trying new ideas, technologies and attention to what the crops need.
“We like to try new things, and we might even do something people say shouldn’t be done,” says Kyle Sommer, John Pryor’s son-in-law. Sommer focuses on the 700 acres of pecan orchards while also working the family’s cotton, peanuts, corn, wheat and other crops with his brother-in-law Newman Pryor. “I want to keep those pecan trees as healthy and productive as possible, so this year we put even more emphasis on plant nutrition. Scab and other diseases are always a threat. We need those trees to be strong enough to resist and overcome the challenges.
“We applied a season-long program of Sysstem® Series phosphite-based nutrients, especially Sysstem-Pecan™, on about 100 acres of the pecans, and we had a very good year. We had maybe the cleanest pecan crop we’ve ever seen. Our grades were up a little, but what I really noticed was the obvious vigor and productivity of the treated trees. They were heavily loaded and held onto the nuts. They were still building nuts when the untreated trees had quit. That kind of tree health had to impact yield and quality for the better.
“There is one 80-acre orchard that we usually harvest first, but before Thanksgiving when we gave the trees a shake, the pecans were still green and growing. So we harvested the other orchards where the hulls were cracking and black, then came back to the Sysstem® treated trees after a freeze finally helped them cut out for the season.
“With such a good year, we’re expecting alternate bearing to reduce the crop in 2015, so we have another test in the works. Just before harvest we sprayed two 20-acre blocks of trees with fertilizer and Sysstem-Pecan™ to take them into dormancy with a nutritional boost. The hope is that we will see less alternate bearing in those blocks.”
Sysstem-Pecan™ simplifies nutrition by combining the power of phosphite with highly-available zinc and nickel nutrients critical for the early development of the pecan tree’s root, leaf and vascular systems. Sommer applied Sysstem-Pecan™ at bud break as recommended to get a vigorous start. He then followed with additional applications during the season as needed.
He also applied sulfur, which increases nitrogen efficiency, leaf chlorophyll, and nut weight and size while providing better natural resistance to pathogens. Some growers also use Sysstem®-MN to improve resistance.
“I really like the idea that the Sysstem® Series includes minor nutrients trees need to stay healthy, like calcium, zinc and nickel. The tree can take them all up at one time. We had no problem combining the Sysstem® products when we needed to, or with adding them to the considerable range of our fungicide sprays,” said Sommer. “That compatibility helps make the spray program easier and avoids separate additional sprays to maintain nutrition. The phosphite moves everything through the tree faster and improves nutrient uptake from the root system as well.
“We’ll be looking forward to seeing how the trees we treated right before harvest with Sysstem-Pecan™ and Sysstem®-K 0-0-20 will emerge from dormancy, how they respond to the Sysstem® program, and whether we see more consistency and less alternate bearing than we typically have in those off years. One of the benefits of providing plants with the right nutrition at the right time throughout the season is that it should build up a healthier plant to help smooth out the ups and downs from year to year.”
Sysstem-Pecan™ is a trademark and Sysstem® Series is a registered trademark of Agro-K Corporation
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