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School me on Hazelnut production, please

 
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I am very interested to hear any success stories or experiences with commercial production of Hazelnuts, please.  I know that outside of Oregon, the US does not produce much of a crop; but perhaps someone has done it on a small scale and can share their experiences.

I know the current varieties we have are susceptible to hazelnut blight; although there is some talk of a resistant variety being tested in New Jersey (?).  What is the 'blight'?  Is it fungal or bacterial?  How is it spread?  What conditions suppress it?  

Marketing will be an issue, or course; but that is true of all non industrial ag.  Does anyone have any experience with establishing a small market (or large)?  Are there aggregators outside the Pacific Northwest?

My interest in this topic is to co-orchard hazelnuts as an under story tree in a pecan grove.  Pecan take a long time to establish and reach production yields.  Hazelnuts reach production much faster and seem to have evolved as in the under story or mid canopy zone.  Looking for varieties to take their roles in the different zones of a food forest that will be beneficial and perhaps productive.  My research shows hazelnuts might do well in the mid level zone; and have good commercial value.

Thoughts, experiences?
 
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Jack Edmondson wrote:I am very interested to hear any success stories or experiences with commercial production of Hazelnuts, please.  I know that outside of Oregon, the US does not produce much of a crop; but perhaps someone has done it on a small scale and can share their experiences.

I know the current varieties we have are susceptible to hazelnut blight; although there is some talk of a resistant variety being tested in New Jersey (?).  What is the 'blight'?  Is it fungal or bacterial?  How is it spread?  What conditions suppress it?  

Marketing will be an issue, or course; but that is true of all non industrial ag.  Does anyone have any experience with establishing a small market (or large)?  Are there aggregators outside the Pacific Northwest?

My interest in this topic is to co-orchard hazelnuts as an under story tree in a pecan grove.  Pecan take a long time to establish and reach production yields.  Hazelnuts reach production much faster and seem to have evolved as in the under story or mid canopy zone.  Looking for varieties to take their roles in the different zones of a food forest that will be beneficial and perhaps productive.  My research shows hazelnuts might do well in the mid level zone; and have good commercial value.

Thoughts, experiences?



I have American versions of the hazelnut.  They do well but I don't have enough experience to give you valuable information.  If I was going to do something like what you are planning I'd look into Mark Shepard, who practices silvopasture.  I will attach a video of him talking about his farm.  If I had 100 acres this is what I'd do.

Good Luck.

 
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I think everyone in my area that has really invested in hazelnuts have mostly done it as part of a truffle-growing scheme (which I haven't heard too many success stories about).

That said, there is medium-scale processing equipment available and if you have access to a somewhat with-it metro area, it should be relatively easy to create a market.

The breeding work being done at Rutgers is pretty promising. The hazels from forest ag (mark shepard?) are pretty good seedlings. We got a dozen or so just to check them out, and two or three seem really good - seems like the game would be to propagate the favorite selections and orchard those.
 
Jack Edmondson
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Scott,

Agreed.  I am a big fan of Mark Shepard's work with silvopasture, especially his approach to integrated management with multiple balanced revenue streams.  My place is being set up with the same concepts, including beef and poultry rotations.  There is a lot of support in my state for pecan, beef, and poultry production.  It is just not integrated.  Also there seems to be a missing piece (in my mind) for understory and mid canopy occupation in the seven layer permeculture models.  I am working on finding the right combination in the shrub and mid canopy layers.  I am working on developing the microbial colony and mychrorizal colonies.  The herb and vine layers will be sunn hemp and velvet bean, both nitrogen fixers and good forage crops.  The over story will be pecans.  J am just trying to nail down the shrub and mid canopy.  Hazelnuts seem to be comfortable in both/either.  

Greg,

I did not know truffles and hazelnuts were associated.  Thank you.  I need to watch that.  We have a wild hog population and they can be destructive enough without growing treats in the ground.  Last thing I need is for them to uproot up my trees.  Thank you for the lead on Forest Ag.  I will add them to my source list.  How is Rutgers distributing plants?  Are they in a trial program?  Have they turned over their varieties to a commercial producer?  I think next spring will be my time line for getting a few varieties started in place.    
 
Scott Foster
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Jack,

The program Rutgers is involved in is the Arbor Day, Hazelnut Consortium.  Rutgers AG in NJ, the Nebraska Forest Service, and Oregon State University are working together through the Arbor Day Foundation to breed blite resistant filberts.  I have included all of the links below.    Let us know how it goes.  

Regards, Scott



Rutgers

Nebraska Forest Service

Oregon State



Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium
 
Scott Foster
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Oregon State University/ Blight Resistant American Hazelnuts

I have the Jefferson Hazelnut, it's a healthy bush in 6a/east coast.  Not sure how it would do in Texas unless you are in a microclimate.


Jefferson Hazelnut Tree is one of the latest selections from Oregon State University, this disease-resistant variety bears abundant crops of very large, delicious nuts. Its high productivity is making Jefferson very popular with commercial growers. Plant Jefferson with Theta or Eta for cross-pollination.

 
Scott Foster
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Jack,  You may find this fact sheet interesting

Nebraska Forest Service: Commercializing the hybridized hazelnut
 
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