Hazelnut harvest started in earnest in Bayfield, WI last week and we anticipate finishing up early next week. It certainly has been a compressed harvest season compared to last year. Typically our plants ripen over a four week period, but this year it'll be no more than 14 days. The video is from one of our hazelnut performance trials located in Bayfield, WI. We have been tracking the performance of the individual plants in these trials since 2010 with the goal of finding roughly 10 1st generation genotypes capable of supporting a viable hazelnut industry in the Upper Midwest. The genotypes being evaluated at Bayfield are also in trials at St. Paul, MN, Tomahawk, WI, Lake City, MN, and Lamberton, MN. Each plant is harvested individually in order to determine annual kernel yields. We also evaluate growth form, resistance to Eastern Filbert Blight, kernel quality, and resistance to big bud mite.
The plants at Bayfield are grown with 6' in-row spacing and 15' between-row spacing, which is likely too much space at the Bayfield location where the soils are sandy and not very fertile. We envision hazelnuts in the Upper Midwest being grown in hedgerows and key for economic viability will be filling the hedgerows quickly, and for Bayfield that will likely mean a higher initial planting density. We are just mowing the herbaceous vegetation between the rows at Bayfield, but in a production system that growers might use, the row-middles would be used during the establishment phase for alley-cropping to generate income while the hazelnuts are maturing.
- Contributed by J. Fischbach