Many folks are aware of the NeoHybrid Chestnuts and Hazels being bred and tested at Badgersett. Less well-known is the hickory-pecan group (Carya). A major reason for this is the longer generation time - typically 10 years to first seed crop from a seedling - resulting in fewer generations present on the farm. (That is, in addition to just not enough personnel or hours in the day...)
Now - I really like wooden items - their lasting beauty and luster pay tribute to the tenacity of trees overcoming the odds to persist to lumber or even veneer size. When I lived in Illinois, I joined a wood carvers' club and had chosen hickory as the flooring of choice if I had been able to afford the upgrade to my tiny ranch home.
Soon after coming to work for Badgersett I learned that Philip shared my admiration for hickories. He has a grove of hybrid hickories, both shagbark and bitternut, interbred with pecan. Compared with the other nut crops, they are easier for the smaller grower to harvest/gather (unless renting a blueberry picker for hazels), and easier to extract from the husk. In my humble opinion, the flavor is better and the range of culinary uses is as wide or wider than the others. The wood of the bole is downright gorgeous as lumber, smaller parts yield great btu generation per unit, and the branches are valuable as smokewood.
I decided, when provided the opportunity, I wanted to plant a bunch for myself. Well - a year or so ago I purchased a 14.5A former Amish farmlet and am working towards the goal of becoming at least 80% energy and food self-sufficient. I don't aim for 100% - at least not until I find temperate strains of coffee and chocolate. The dairy end of things will also, at least for now, need to be bought or bartered for.
Last month I purchased 5 dozen of Badgersett's last year's hybrid hickory tubelings and began my orchard!
Being a geneticist, I set it up as a progeny test plot, with blocks and reps and all that. Contrary to many recommendations, I did minimal field prep - planting into a recently mowed alfalfa/grass mix. We hand dug the holes using a tile spade at 6 foot within and 30 foot between row spacing. Since then we've had NO rain and temperatures in excess of 100F. Watering has been done approximately every other day with water pumped to a former ethanol industry carboy and gravity fed through a series of garden hoses. I started with 5 gallon buckets and jetisoned that approach real fast. So far I have about 10% looking peaked, but resprouting could still occur.