March/April 2022 - 30

PRODUCTION
Oklahoma, and in 2017, Miller Pecan
won the Oklahoma Pecan Grower of the
Year award, which is presented by the
Oklahoma Pecan Grower's Association
and chosen by local pecan growers to be
given to one farm family.
" That year, we had a phenomenal
crop, " said Miller, " and the committee
(in charge of the award) knew we had
raised a large, good quality crop. "
While the committee doesn't delve
into a farm's particular usage numbers
or products, it isn't unfamiliar with the
growers it's considering. Regular spray
programs, fertilization and irrigation are
all taken into account.
" Though, right here in our local area,
we have more of a drainage issue. More
than trying to get water to our trees,
we're trying to get water away from our
trees, " said Miller.
2019 was a year of floods for the
operation, with Miller estimating the
occurrence happening about 20 times.
With many of those floods, the water
would be 12-15 feet deep around the
trees, he said. While long-term flooding
can be detrimental to the trees, Miller
noted that flooding can be beneficial to
the field.
" The trees are pretty resilient. If a
flood comes up and goes down over
five to seven days, it actually brings in
a lot of nutrients and is good when the
ground is completely saturated, " he said.
" If they stand under water for thirty to
forty days, it's going to stress them; they
might abort the crop or might not set a
good crop the following year. If a tree stands underwater for more than about
120 days, you'll start having tree death. "
The longest flood Miller Pecan has experienced lasted about 21-22 days.
Sterilization and drying
There are a few different options for sterilizing, including a chlorine bath,
steam or immersion in hot water. Miller Pecan opts for the hot water method of
sterilization.
" Chlorine works great, but you have to be able to prove that your chlorine
levels never drop below 200 parts per million. And, it's just hard, because you're
always monitoring, always adding, " Miller said.
The hot water, on the other hand, involves a thermometer with a digital
readout, and once the water is hot enough, the nuts are dipped into the bath
and brought out after a certain length of time. From there, it's the usual
journey through all the processing machinery - moving through the cracker,
where the nuts are cracked individually, then through the sheller and various
blowers before ending up at sizing. A final pass through infrared tech eliminates
remaining shell pieces. Once they're dried down to moisture for packing, they
get inspected by the human eye and placed into a box.
Industry standard moisture levels are under 5%, with University of Georgia
Extension recommending 4.5%.
30 MARCH/APRIL 2022
Staff in the
shelling room.
Staff in the inspection room. The nuts
pass through here after undergoing
a variety of processes, including
sanitization and shelling.

March/April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March/April 2022

March/April 2022 - 1
March/April 2022 - 2
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/january-february-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/november-december-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/september-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/NNG/july-august-2022
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