Home' The Murray Pioneer : February 28th 2017 Contents 6 - “RIVERLAND & MALLEE FARMER”
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DESPITE losing around 70 per
cent of his family’s pecan crop
during last November’s storm,
Glossop man Dave Otto de
Grancy remains positive about
As captain of the Monash
Country Fire Service, Mr Otto
de Grancy said he was out
until about 3am on Saturday,
November 12 (the day after the
storm), looking after other people.
“Unfortunately I was stuck just
down the road, because the trees
and power lines were down,” he
“I just knew our place was
going to be flattened, the wind
was horrendous and I couldn’t get
“I was only about 500 metres
away, just on the bend of
Distillery Road, that’s as far as I
“When I got home I got my
torch out and expected to see our
“I saw two branches down at
the far end and I thought ‘we got
away with this with nothing’.
“It doesn’t take much more
than a strong breeze to snap
pecan trees, so I don’t know, we
just got lucky.”
It wasn’t until the following day
and the weeks after that the fami-
ly discovered just how much dam-
age had been done to the crop.
“The next day I went for a walk
and saw all of the (pecan) flowers
on the ground,” he said.
“For us, if it had happened two
days after or two days prior, we
probably wouldn’t have got the
The storm occurred on the day
the flowers were pollinating, a
crucial time for a pecan crop.
“It took about four weeks for us
to realise the damage that was
done,” he said.
“The pecans form on the trees
as tiny, little things and you get
hundreds or thousands on a tree.
“Then they have a sticky little
receiver on the bottom side and
when the pecan is pollinated that
turns brown, and if it’s not pol-
lenated it stays white.
“We could start to see that out
of a bunch of 10 pecans, two or
three of them were pollinated,
and that’s when we knew unfortu-
nately they had only just started
“The storm had knocked all
the flowers off, so pollination was
done for us, in only a matter of
“It was really frustrating... we
were just expecting big bunches
of pecans out there and there is
only a few.”
Mr Otto de Grancy said the
family grows other varieties of
pecans – which pollinate later
that survived the storm with a
“But our big trees – the ones
that are actually mainly producing
we lost about 70 per cent.
“We’ve gone from 10 pecans
per bunch to about three.”
He said although the loss was
“significant” it would allow family
members to work on the facilities
at their Glossop site.
“We were hoping that this year
was going to be ‘the season’
because in 2015 we had 430kg,
last year we had 1680kg and
this year we were expecting three
tonne,” he said.
“That would have got us over
the line but that’s not to be.
“That was a big kick in the
“I suppose if you take a pos-
itive out of the negative, it’s
going to be a bit less work for us
because there is all still a lot of
manual labour behind it (harvest-
ing the crop).
“So we should be able to, hope-
fully, get the pecan crop out of
the way pretty quick and get back
to work on the facility, because
we have so much interest now in
people wanting to hold events in
Mr Otto de Grancy predicts the
2018 harvest to be “huge” follow-
ing the growth of the trees after
“So we need to get ready for
that now,” he said.
“We’re still hand picking.
“We were planning this year to
get a contractor in, but there’s
just not going to be the crop there
to warrant it. It’s going to cost a
lot of money.
“So Mum and Dad thankfully
will be here to help pick with
(wife) Stacy, (son) Harley and
myself as well.”
He said aside from the storm,
the pecan trees have responded
well to the Riverland’s climate.
“Our climate seems to be doing
the right thing by us, the trees are
enjoying this weird summer that
we are having. That’s their native
climate,” he said.
“They are native to the banks
of the Mississippi, so they have
high rainfall, they have hot tem-
peratures, are very humid and in
the winter time they have extreme
cold as well.
“So the trees are booming
along for us. I guess we’ll just wait
until next year and see how we’ll
“The storm has taken us back
a bit but we’ve had to be patient
because it’s been 11 years in the
Glossop pecan grower Dave Otto de
Grancy says the storm experienced
throughout the Riverland in
November last year damaged 70
per cent of his family’s crop. He is
pictured here with dogs Aspen (left)
PHOTOS: Christian Longobardi
Mr Otto de Grancy says he expects the 2018 pecan harvest to be “huge”
from regrowth of the trees following the storm. The pecans are sold under
the Southern Sky Pecans brand.
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