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Pecans are a
major crop in Alabama and the United States.
Dr. Bill Goff, a pecan specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension
System says this year will not be a good one for pecan producers.
"The United States'
pecan crop appears to be about 170 million pounds," says Goff. "That would make it the smallest harvest
industry forecasts from earlier in the year estimated the U.S. crop at an
average of 213.6 million pounds. Goff says now that harvest is nearing
completion in the Southeast and is underway in the West, it is obvious that the
crop will not be that large.
industry adage "a short crop gets shorter" is readily apparent
especially in the Southeast. Many Southeastern
commercial growers are saying that their crop is coming in about two-thirds of
what they expected earlier in the season."
He says one
of the rainiest growing seasons on record is one factor, contributing to the
worst incidence of pecan scab Goff has witnessed in his long career in Georgia
and Alabama. The Desirable pecan variety crop, especially, was devastated by
scab affecting nut size, quality, and volume. In addition, most homeowners do
not spray the pecan trees in their landscapes.
Goff says most of the yard tree crop was lost except on resistant
varieties like Elliott, or on seedlings.
and the Midwest, a short crop to begin with was decimated by crows, squirrels
and predators and is reduced from earlier forecasts as well. In the western states of New Mexico, Arizona
and California, he says that the crop varies somewhat by location because freezes
and availability of water affected some orchards but not others. In particular,r Goff says that New Mexico
benefited from late season rains that leached salts in soils and replenished
soil moisture levels.
Mexico crop appears to be as good as or even a little better than forecast."
because of the short crop consumers should expect higher pecan prices.
combine high consumption and continued export demand, it means that prices
should be very high in the future especially for large nuts of good quality."
Photo caption: Total crop loss and partial leaf loss on
Desirable tree (left), an industry standard variety, compared to a disease
resistant test section at the Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center of
Auburn University near Fairhope, AL, in September, 2013. Photo by Bryan Wilkins.
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