Higher speeds and and lower volumes of scab control may be a cost savings growers have been overlooking in the pecan industry.
As growers across the pecan belt crank up the sprayers and begin to monitor for disease and pest they are also looking for a cost savings to help with increasing input cost in the new inflationary period that has kept food inflation above 10%.
While the government prints inflation, working class Americans, like farmers increasingly look for ways to save money on input costs. While that has been difficult to do as prices on energy, fuel, fertilizer and everything else increases, pecan growers have been experimenting with cutting down on spray volumes in the orchard.
Dr. Clive Bock with the USDA Tree Fruit & Nut Lab in Byron, GA gave a presentation again at the Southeastern Pecan Growers meeting covering the findings of scab control on pecan trees at various speeds and volumes of spray coverage in the orchard.
The findings suggest that reducing the volume of spray (based on standard practices of 1000 gallons per 10 acres) does not have a significant impact on the ability to control sacb pressure.
Dr. Bock referenced findings from a study done in their orchards where they placed cards at various heights in the pecan trees and measured the spray coverage at each height at various different speeds and volumes during application.
The findings showed, “The results of the economic analysis of tree spacing, volume applied, and speed all indicate that significant savings can be made by traveling faster and applying lower volumes, with no apparent cost to scab control at all heights studied.”
The study is ongoing and did say that more data and research is needed to make definitive statements regarding volume and speed, but that it is worth experimenting with on your own farm to see if results can benefit your operation.
The study was funded in part by the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Pecans which is funded through grower assessments on pecan produced in Georgia.