By Clint Thompson
Pecan production could be worse this year than previously projected across the Southeast.
According to the University of Georgia (UGA) Extension pecan blog, UGA Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells estimates that Georgia’s production will not exceed 60 million pounds, and that number may fall even further, below 50 million pounds for the first time since 2006 when production netted 42 million pounds.
Various factors have impacted pecan production. Persistent rainfall led to scab disease issues for most growers. Also, constant cloudy weather contributed to decreased yields and quality issues. The mid-season varieties suffered the most. November is when the majority of varieties are mature enough for harvest. This year’s volume is minimal, however. Growers are estimating about 30% of their normal crop from mid-season varieties, which comprises a large percentage of Georgia’s orchards.
While pecan production is discouraging for growers, prices are encouraging growers with a crop. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service, prices paid to growers with lots of more than 20,000 pounds last week included $2.02 to $2.11 for Cape Fear varieties with 53% to 54% meat yield; and $2.15 to $2.25 for Desirable varieties with 51% to 53% meat yield
“For the nuts that are out there, we are seeing prices look much better. I think the word has gotten out that the crop is so short,” University of Georgia Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells. “It’s much better than it was the last couple of years.”