Alabama Pecan Production Still Reeling From 2020 Hurricanes

Clint Thompson Alabama, Pecan, Top Posts, Weather

Hurricane Sally damaged crops and structures along Alabama’s Gulf Coast when it hit Sept. 16. Cassebaum Farms in Lillian in Baldwin County sustained damage to its pecan crop.

By Clint Thompson

The hurricanes that wiped out pecan production in two Alabama counties last year are still having an impact on pecan yields this season.

Alabama Extension Research Associate Bryan Wilkins confirmed that even though pecan harvests have begun across the state, there is minimal, if any, production in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

“There’s not a lot to get. What few Elliotts we’ve got, they’re starting to pick them up, but there’s just not a lot here. Now over in the east part of the state, I think they’re a little bit better off. I think they’re starting to pick up, but over here in Mobile and Baldwin counties, we’re picking up a few Elliotts. There’s just not a lot to get after the hurricane last year,” Wilkins said.

“Between the fact that we lost so many trees and had so many leaves stripped off, when you lose the leaves that early, you lose the next year’s crop. Anything that we would have had coming back, even in an off year, it was just compounded more by losing the leaves when the hurricane stripped the leaves off. We lost part of the crop that way, too.”

Conditions Made Worse

Wilkins said after Hurricane Sally and Hurricane Zeta impacted South Alabama in 2020, it took away what was projected to be the region’s best crop in years. What was estimated to be a down year in 2021 anyway was made worse by the hurricanes’ impact.

 “We had estimated last year before the hurricane there was four million pounds of nuts in just Baldwin and Mobile counties. We knew we were going to have an off year. But then you add in the hurricanes stripping the leaves off a lot of trees, and as you know that when you lose leaves that early, you lose the next crop because they try to put out again. That just hurt us worse,” Wilkins said.

“It is what it is. There’s not a daggum thing you can do about it. Just suck it up and hope we don’t get a hurricane next year.”

Wilkins estimates that the trees that weren’t lost to the storms should be back online and in rotation next year barring any major disasters.