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Byrd


Average nut quality of test trees for the first 8 years from planting.

Cultivar Yield # Nuts / lb. % Kernel Cluster Size Harvest date
  lbs./tree/year       (50% shuck split)
Byrd 13.3 47 59 % 3.7 Sept. 23
Pawnee
5.3
47
57%
3.5
Sept. 10
Desirable
6.1
44
50%
2.9
Oct. 15

Average pest resistance of test cultivars 2006-2013.

Cultivar Leaf ScabZ Nut ScabY Black Aphid DamageX Sooty Mold BuildupW
  Avg. (worst)V Avg. (worst) Avg. (worst) Avg. (worst)
Byrd 1.1 (1.4) 2.2 (2.8) 1.3 (2.4) 1.0 (1.0)
Desirable 2.4 (4.0) 3.8 (5.0) 1.3 (2.7) 1.0 (1.0)
Pawnee 1.1 (1.7) 1.9 (3.0) 1.6 (2.0) 1.0 (1.0)
  • Z 1=No scab, 2= Few stray spots, 3=Several spots with expanding lesions, 4=Stem scab or defoliation.
  • Y 1=No scab, 2=Few stray spots, 3=Obvious scab but no quality loss (0-10%), 4=10-50% shuck coverage, 5=50-100% covered, nut drop.
  • X 1=No damage, 2=Light spotting, less than 25% leaves affected, 3=Moderate spotting, 25-75% leaves, 4=Heavy spotting, >75% leaves affected, some leaves completely yellow.
  • W 1=None, 2=Light, some black on few leaves, 3=moderate, black on most leaves, 4=Heavy, black flakes on leaves and stems.
  • V Average score over all years and average of worst year for each trait.

Average yield (pounds nuts per tree) of 'Byrd' each year from planting in 2006 (Desirable and 2 Pawnee trees were planted in 2005).

Cultivar # Trees 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Byrd 5 0 0 0 0 9 14 30 54  
Desirable 6 0 0 0 0 1 4 16 29 30
Pawnee 3 0 0 0 0 0 8 16 19 57

History

This cultivar is the first to be released from the breeding program initiated in 1989 by UGA professor Dr. Darrell Sparks. 'Byrd' was selected from a cross of 'Pawnee' x 'Wichita'. It was selected for its large, high quality nuts which can be harvested very early in the season. Read Dr. Sparks' 2012 paper on the performance of 'Byrd' and 'Cunard'.

Comments

We have several young trees in our test orchard. 'Byrd' is one of the very few cultivars with a large size and very early harvest date, usually ripening in the mid-late September. We have found it to come off about two weeks after Pawnee. However, the shucks open fairly consistently unlike 'Pawnee' which usually opens over a long period forcing the grower to shake the tree 2 to 3 times to prevent significant bird losses. Like 'Pawnee', a nut with this early of a harvest date will need to be managed appropriately. See our 'Pawnee' comments and treat it similarly. In terms of scab resistance, we do not know for sure where to place 'Byrd'. I have observed many young trees in a well-managed orchard in Albany and have seen almost no scab. However, I have observed significant scab on young trees in unsprayed orchards in Tifton and Albany. This, in combination with the parentage which has two susceptible cultivars, suggests caution in predicting scab resistance. Right now, it appears that regular fungicide sprays easily control scab on 'Byrd'. Whether this will continue into the future is unknown. Growers should not plant 'Byrd' if they will not be able to spray fungicides regularly.

This is a very precocious variety that will need fruit thinning as the tree matures. Compare the early yields of 'Byrd' to 'Desirable' and 'Pawnee' to see how precocious it is. 'Byrd' trees have a large cluster size and really load up with nuts starting from a young age. This will be a recipe for strong alternation in mature trees if crop load is not managed by shaking some nuts off in the summer. 'Byrd' trees have a very upright growth habit and growers may wish to space trees closer together than they normally would.

Nut size and quality have been very good with 'Byrd'. Shell thickness is very thin and kernels are well developed, leading to a high percent kernel. 'Byrd' has not shown the spotting on kernels that 'Pawnee' has, but I have seen some veining similar to 'Pawnee'. Similar to 'Pawnee', I don't think color holds well in storage with 'Bryd'. With all of these early cultivars it is important to market your nuts quickly.

I recommend this tree for trial based on the fact that it is large and extremely early. Only 'Pawnee' and 'Mandan' have both of these traits and compete with 'Byrd'. I would plant 'Byrd' over 'Mandan' because 'Byrd' has a better kernel quality than 'Mandan'. In terms of 'Pawnee' versus 'Byrd' it is a hard call to make. 'Pawnee' has been around longer and has a proven track record. 'Pawnee' has performed well especially in middle Georgia where scab pressure is less than in southern Georgia. Right now, it appears easier to control scab on 'Byrd' than 'Pawnee', but I'm not convinced this will be true long term as more 'Byrd' trees are planted. 'Byrd' is more precocious than 'Pawnee', and may have more yield potential, but will need more crop thinning than 'Pawnee'.

'Byrd' is a type I (protandrous) cultivar with pollen shed and pistil receptivity very similar to 'Pawnee' and 'Desirable'. It would be pollinated by 'Curnard', 'Elliott', 'Kanza', 'Lakota', 'McMillan', 'Morrill', 'Stuart', and 'Sumner'.

This cultivar is patented by UGA and is only available through Patten Seed Company (1-800-634-1672).