Topics to Range from Best Walnut Varieties to Shitakes on the Side
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Black walnuts – from variety selection and successful planting to managing for sawlog production – will be highlights Friday, June 1, at the 2012 Walnut Council Field Day.
This year’s program also will feature three special topics:
* How to grow shitake mushrooms on inoculated logs.
* Flavor ratings from research with walnut varieties in sugar cookies (examples provided).
* Gene-driven tests with hybrid poplars for use in producing biomass, to convert into energy.
The field day will begin at 9 a.m. at Kansas State University’s Forestry Research Center near Manhattan, just below Tuttle Creek Dam. Walnut research has been a center project for more than 40 years. (See http://www.kansasforests.org/calendar/index.shtml for a link to the field day brochure’s map.)
The Little Grill will provide the field day’s lunch. A $12 registration fee will help cover the total event’s costs. Checks, made out to the Kansas Chapter of the Walnut Council, go to Larry Rutter at 5197 114th St., Meriden, KS 66512.
“Black walnut enthusiasts will be excited to see that Jerry Van Sambeek is returning to lead a session. As a plant research physiologist with the U.S. Forest Service, Jerry has become a renowned expert in the cultivation of black walnut and companion crops. He’ll be using one of the center’s plantations to illustrate best management practices,” said Bob Atchison, the Kansas Forest Service’s rural forestry coordinator.
A range of characteristics are important when choosing a black walnut variety for nut production: late leaf-out, lateral bud fruitfulness, anthracnose resistance, productivity and nut quality. Bill Reid, K-State Research and Extension’s nut crop specialist, will lead the field day discussion on cultivars with promising growth and performance, including ‘Football 11,’ ‘Cranz,’ ‘Kwik Krop’ and ‘Emma K.’
Jon Appel, Kansas Department of Agriculture pathologist, will provide an update on the progression of Thousand Cankers Disease.
“This relatively new disease has become a national concern. Jon is in a position to address some of the potential complexities for the state forest industry, should it be introduced in Kansas,” Atchison said.
Shitake mushrooms are highly prized for gourmet cooking and are becoming increasingly popular nationwide, the forester added. Plus, they can be a source of diversified income from a walnut plantation.
Experiments in growing the mushrooms in inoculated logs are now on-going at the forestry research center. Rhonda Janke, K-State sustainable agriculture specialist, will be joined by Jacob Chapman and other students to show field day participants how to duplicate their project’s success.
Black walnuts are an agroforestry crop that produces income as it grows, Atchison said.
K-State graduate student Ashley Miller will be sharing edible examples as she explains the results of her research into consumers’ taste preferences for different black walnut nutmeats, used in sugar cookies. She conducted her study at the Sensory and Consumer Research Center at K-State’s Olathe campus.
Charles Barden, K-State Research and Extension forester, will explain the genetically driven Eden Space project conducted at the forestry research enter, as well as the prospects for future biomass production in Kansas. The project’s hybrid poplars already have proven potential for absorbing toxins and pollutants from contaminated water tables and soils.
Additional information about the field day is available by contacting Bob Atchison at 785-532-3310 or email@example.com.