2018 South African Pecan Harvest

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As the 2018 South African pecan harvest gets underway, the pecan growers say this could be the biggest crop ever. South Africa is projected to produce around 18,000 metric tons (40 mil lbs) of pecan this year. To put that in comparison, that is about the same production as the state of Texas. South African pecan growers have been planting new orchards at breakneck pace and the growers are now beginning to see the (stone) fruits of their labor. As with all pecan trees, the time to production is around 8 years after planting, and the pecan growers of South African have continued to plant new pecan orchards. The predominate variety in South Africa is the Wichita. South African pecan growers prefer the Wichita to other varieties and most Wichita orchards are still young which means that they still produce extra-large nuts, this tends not be true of older Wichita trees which will, as they age produce more nuts and the size of the nuts will typically decrease. Barton, Ukalinga and Choctaw are also popular pecan varieties in South Africa, although not as highly favored as the Wichita pecan variety. The South African pecan harvest is expected to increase each year for the foreseeable future, and now with the newly increased tariffs on the US pecan crop going to China, the South African pecan producers see this as an advantage for their pecans entering the China market. China currently buys around 90% of the South African pecan harvest.