Stahmann Farms is the owner of the largest walnut orchard in the world, located south of the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Alfalfa, cotton, chili, onion and corn are other important commercial crops grown in the Mesilla Valley. The Sahuarita farm includes the largest irrigated walnut orchard in the world. Finally, a harvester would make its way down the flat corridor between the seemingly endless rows of nut trees and vacuumed up the debris, spitting out anything lighter than a nut.
The Pecan Growers Council states that more than 90% of Mexico's nuts have already been contract-grown this year, causing the price of Hurricane Michael in the United States to seriously damage Georgia's walnut harvest two years ago, making southwestern states gaining ground by competing for the highest honor as the largest nut producer. And several years later, when their son planted 2,000 acres of walnuts in Australia, the Stahmanns became the world's largest walnut producing family. Imports of U.S. walnuts from Mexico hit a record last year, with around 78 million pounds of nuts in shell and 107 million pounds of nuts without shells, for a combined total of 185 million pounds.
Phillip Arnold, president of the New Mexico Walnut Growers Association and walnut grower, said this year's state harvest was lower than expected in many orchards due to a lack of rain last summer and an earlier frost this fall. While there is debate in the nut industry about whether or not to prune walnut trees, Walden says that pruning makes a positive difference by allowing some sunlight to enter the canopy. By 1956, Leonard Bend Pecan Farm had 3,300 acres of orchards on the peninsula and had become the largest contiguous walnut orchard in Texas and the second largest in the United States. He would extend his hydraulic clamp, hold it around the trunk of a walnut tree and shake it quickly, plucking the nuts from the branches in a matter of seconds.
Walnut exports to China and Hong Kong fell by more than half, according to data from the American Pecan Council. He said that some walnut operations in California have changed or added nuts to orchards where walnuts are more adapted to soil conditions. The land where Green Valley Pecan Company began has a history as deep and rich as the land that produces some of the best walnuts in the world. I've been growing walnuts for several years, and Arizona has been adding acres of walnuts at an astonishing rate for the past three years and is starting to demonstrate its strength as a potential player in the United States.