By Clint Thompson
Pecan quality and quantity is expected to take a hit during the upcoming season. The quantity is not a surprise following last year’s crop. The quality is a result of increased scab disease pressure following persistent rains this summer.
“Our young trees is where most of the crop is going to come from this year,” Lenny Wells, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist. “Most of our old mature Stuart trees are very off. There’s very light yield on those. But the young trees, and by young, I mean probably anything 30 years old and younger, look pretty good as far as crop load.”
Wells projects Georgia to produce between 70 to 75 million pounds this season. It would be a huge decrease from the 142 million pounds last year. Wells said at the Texas pecan conference, there were projections as high as 82 million pounds. Though, that might be a stretch.
“Especially with the way scab is doing right now, I’ll be surprised if we get that high. It’s not completely impossible but I think with scab working like it is, it may be hard to get to that number,” Wells said.
While last week provided much-needed sunshine, those days have been few and far between this summer. According to the University of Georgia Weather Network, Tifton, Georgia received 15.92 inches of rainfall and 42 rainy days between June 1 and July 29; compared to 6.92 inches and 23 rainy days in 2020. In Moultrie, Georgia there was 21.13 inches recorded and 31 days.
Making matters more challenging was that if it was not raining, the skies were cloudy and overcast. Sunshine is needed as harvest approaches.
“If that continues into the kernel filling period in August and September, that’s going to take a toll on quality. Once we get to that point, we’re really going to need some sunshine to finish out the nuts that are there,” Wells said.