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History Of Mountain States Pecan

Mountain States Pecan is a 908-acre pecan orchard located in the southeast plains of New Mexico in a city called Roswell, NM.

The Bonhams and Haleys are partners in the ownership of Mountain States Pecan. They each have their own Pecan orchards that neighbor the MSP orchards, for a combined acreage of 1500 acres and growing. This making Bonham-Haley Mountain States Pecan among the largest orchards in NM.

MSP orchard was originally planted with 653 acres of bareroot pecan trees on a spacing of 30 rows with the trees being 15 apart in the rows. This made 96 trees to the acre, for a total 62,600 trees. 

As the trees grew to the point of crowding each other, the production decreases. One method that was used to alleviate this problem of overcrowding was Hedge Pruning. This consist of cutting the sides and top of the trees much in the shape of a house with a pitched roof in order to open up a light channel for the trees. If that seems like a drastic measure, it was. The problem with hedge pruning at the time is we would loose two years production while the tree recovered and then make two years of good production. By then, the trees were crowded and it was time to do it again. 

The second method that was tried was to have a machine designed that would be big enough to move a mature pecan tree to another location, transplanting. Hence the start of the large tree spades. These machines were big enough to dig a root ball 8 across and 5.5 deep. Therefore making it possible to move every other pecan tree to a new location, and doubling the acreage of your orchard. That got us to a spacing of 30 apart in the rows. MSP
pioneered the Pecan tree transplanting in the late 70s that has revolutionized the pecan industry. 

This system works great until the trees grew past a 14" trunk diameter and then difficulty goes up and the livability goes down for tree transplanting. After the trees got to big to move and were still overcrowding we had come up with another solution to get sunlight down into the trees. We started cutting down every other tree in the row and eventually having to take out every other row until we get to a spacing of 60 by 60. Totaling 12 trees to the acre. A long ways away from the
original 96 trees to the acre. We hope we never have to go to a spacing of 120 apart.

Watering the trees is done by flood irrigation during the months of March through October. All the water is pumped from deep wells and run down ditches. The water is then siphoned from the ditch with siphoning tubes and the entire ground under the tree is flooded.

Pecan production averages 2100 pounds to the acre with the highest production being 5 million pounds in 1995.

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Good water, soil and weather conditions combined with many years of farming experience and taking care of the land tells you why we are able to grow some of the finest pecans anywhere in the world.

Click here to see harvest photos.
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1997-2008 Mountain States Pecan, LLC.  All rights reserved.