Great hazelnut harvest for the orchards
Research and Extension Program

Story by: Nik Wiman

The warm, dry weather was perfect for harvesting hazelnuts at NWREC this fall. The Orchards team harvested 14,000 lbs of hazelnuts for research, a new record for us. Starting in 2016, the Program has planted roughly six acres of hazelnuts at NWREC for applied research and Extension.

While this is small acreage compared to a commercial operation, there are more than 1,000 trees that are individually monitored, and many are harvested individually. Initial research focused on cultural practices such as evaluating various mulches (sawdust, compost, and biochar) for new trees and developing trunk protection strategies.

Additional research evaluated the long-term production of OSU hazelnut varieties, efficiency of fertilizer uptake, improved irrigation and pest management strategies. The most recent plot is designed to evaluate high-density production and mechanized pruning. Most of the studies are, or have been, support by the Oregon Hazelnut Commission, which allocates the crop assessment dollars paid by growers through a competitive grant program.

Information generated from these studies benefits the Oregon hazelnut industry, which is responsible for 99% of U.S. hazelnut production. Our research is all about optimizing sustainable production of hazelnuts and we have documented impacts of our program on the industry, especially in the areas of pest management and orchard nutrition.

Hazelnut research requires patience as the trees mature slowly and we are just getting to the point where some long-running research results can be translated to production practices. We are excited to present research results at grower meetings this winter, and we are already looking forward to the next growing season!

It is exciting to watch trees grow and react to experimental treatments and we are anticipating that yields will continue increase for the foreseeable future as our orchards mature.