Georgia is predicted to regain the number one spot for pecan production in the US this year, after several tough years from weather damage, the pecan orchards have recovered from the damage and production is predicted to be around 120 million pounds this year.
So far the crop has been good to great, with minor weather issues and growers reporting good quality and development all year, the crop looks on track to be a stellar year. Harvesting began in mid September slightly earlier than usual and has pretty much finished around the state.
In the southern part of the state most of the growers have finished and are focused on getting ready for planting new trees. There are a few growers going back through a couple of their heavy orchards “scrapping” in any areas that still have a decent amount of nuts that did not fall from the tree on the first pass.
Most growers I’ve spoken with say they have been able to move through their orchards relatively quickly this year and have not had to come back over orchards for a second time. Most of the crop ripened on the first pass and shook out well.
Moving west growers are slightly behind Georgia in harvest and will be finishing up over the next few weeks. In Oklahoma and parts of Texas growers have opted not to harvest parts of the native crop as native prices on the farm have been lower than the cost to harvest. Growers with retail outlets, selling direct to consumers have fared much better than their counterparts who sell only on the wholesale market and have opted to harvest their natives.
The in-shell wholesale market has been significantly lower this harvest season as many buyers have stocked up on Mexican pecan imports and still have large inventories available to them. Many growers this year have gone straight to cold storage to allow inventory levels to decrease and pecan prices to recover before selling.