By Clint Thompson
A delay in pecan production this year could have a ripple effect that costs growers the opportunity to take advantage of the exports market to China.
There is renewed optimism from Southeast producers about this year’s harvest season. It stems largely from the fact that China has increased its interest in purchasing U.S. pecans. However, supply may be low at the time when China needs pecans the most.
Pawnee varieties will likely require at least another week or two before they are ready for harvest. Then add another month before varieties like Stuarts will be ready. The bulk of this year’s pecans will likely not be ready until at least November.
There are concerns that growers will not be able to take advantage of the Chinese New Year celebration, says Lenny Wells, University of Georgia Extension pecan specialist.
“The Chinese New Year, I don’t know how many is going to go, but that’s certainly going to put pressure on that because their new year’s earlier. You’ve got to get them on the boat in time to get there. That’s going to put pressure on that. I don’t know how much of the crop will be ready in time,” Wells said.
Wells attributes the slow production season to the spring weather conditions. It followed a cold winter. Usually when there is a cold winter, there is an early budbreak or it doesn’t take as much heat to bring them out of budbreak. The warmer the spring is, the faster that foliage develops. The crop follows along with that. But following this year’s cold winter, it remained cold during the spring. That slowed down the progression of the foliage development, which slowed down the progression of the crop.
The Chinese New Year is Feb. 1, 2022.