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US (TX): Pecans recover from last year's drought

Dry conditions last year throughout the state of Texas limited the size of last year's pecan crop. But with better rainfall this year, the volume of pecans will be larger, even if some effects from last year's drought continue to linger.

“This season is looking better than last year's,” said Blair Krebs, associated director of marketing for the Texas Pecan Board and the Texas Pecan Growers Association. She noted that estimates for this year's crop put volume at 55 million pounds, and while it will be a while before anyone knows if that estimate will hold true, it's expected that this season's total production, whatever it turns out to be, will likely be more than last year's production of 32 million pounds.

Harvesting, which typically begins in September and continues through January, was off to an early start this year, with some growers starting as much as two weeks earlier than usual because of warm spring weather. That meant that growers had to brave hotter days while harvesting.

“Harvesting got started about two weeks early,” said Krebs. “Some growers got started in August, so they had to go out in 100 degree weather.” But an early start also meant that Texas pecans got on the market sooner, noted Krebs, and more product can be pushed onto the market throughout the season. Market prices, she added, have continued along an upward trend that's been present for the past five years.

Though this season is expected to be better than the previous season, the aftereffects of last year's drought will continue to linger for some time to come. Because it hit almost all agricultural sectors, it's natural for the repercussions of the drought to be felt for a while, said Krebs.

“We're still seeing the effects of the drought,” she said. “The effects of the stress on trees will be probably continue.” Smaller nut meat has already been noticed this year, and it's believed that last year's conditions probably contributed to that. But with a better season this year, and increased plantings going forward, the pecan industry is recovering.

“A lot of nurseries are out of pecan trees this year, which is a sign that plantings are on the rise,” said Krebs. “Planting takes place in January and February, and already there are no trees left, so I think people are replacing the trees that died out from the drought.”

For more information:
Blair Krebs
Texas Pecan Board
+1 877 873 2267

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