MADISON, Wis. — The pecan industry is substantial, according to USDA statistics. On average, pecan orchards produced around 250 million pounds of nuts per year in the past decade. But due to drought, water for irrigation is becoming more salty, which can impact pecan production. The November 22nd, 2021, Sustainable, Secure Food Blog explains how researchers in New Mexico are looking at how using brackish water affects pecan production.
When water comes in contact with rocks or other sources of salt, some salts dissolve in the water – a natural process. But as the water evaporates, that increases the salinity of the water, because salt does not evaporate along with the water. This salty water is called brackish, which has less salt than ocean water.
A research team tested pecans in a greenhouse by irrigating with various levels of salt in their irrigation water. Their results indicate that continuous irrigation with salty water can be done for up to one year. However, after that, the plants showed signs of stress.
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–American Society of Agronomy & Crop Science Society of America