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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Pecan Crop Load Thinning Field Day slated Aug. 9

STILLWATER, Okla. – The pecan industry is a booming business in Oklahoma with an average of about 18 million pounds being harvested every year.

As with any agricultural endeavor, proper care is essential to ensure productivity. Oklahoma pecan growers will benefit from an educational Pecan Crop Load Thinning Field Day slated Aug. 9 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Cimarron Valley Research Station, 10820 S. Jardot, near Perkins, Oklahoma. The field day is free and open to the public.

Participants will learn about the benefits of crop load thinning, proper timing of thinning, thinning techniques, how to determine if their crop needs to be thinned, as well as seeing equipment demonstrations.

“Pecan trees have an on-off cycle, or what is known as alternate bearing, when it comes to production, said Becky Carroll, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension assistant specializing in fruit and nuts. “This is a challenge for growers who may produce a large crop one year, followed by a small to no crop the next year. One key to consistent year-to-year production for improved cultivars is crop-load management, or simply reducing the number of nuts on a tree during an on year.”

When done correctly, nut thinning is a sound and highly effective management tool for minimizing the alternate-bearing tendency and increasing the profitability of some cultivars. Crop load thinning also can increase the quality of improved cultivars. Thinning also may help protect trees from cold damage and limb breakage.

Carroll said thinning, while simple in theory, takes skill and timely efforts.

“The time to thin nuts will vary with cultivar and location, as well as from year to year,” she said. “If the crop is thinned too early, the nuts typically are small and will require forceful shaking that can damage the tree. If done too late, the benefit for next year’s crop can be lost.”

Crop load thinning in pecans was researched and developed at OSU several years ago. Now this management technique is used all throughout the pecan industry on improved cultivars.

Following the field day, participants are invited to stay for a grilled hamburger dinner. This event is sponsored by the Oklahoma Pecan Growers’ Association, OSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and the OSU Field and Research Service Unit.

For more information, please contact Carroll at 405-744-6139, or via email at


Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
136 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078