Currently the nation’s 2nd largest pecan producing state, Georgia, is on the road to recovery and possibly regaining its title as the nation’s largest producing state.
For many years Georgia has ranked number one in pecan production in the world. Beginning in the southwest corner of the state near Dougherty and Mitchell county and heading northwest into Macon and Peach county sits the world’s largest contiguous pecan orchard and of course is home to many Georgia pecan growers.
While the state has seen strong growth over the past decade with new platings to help meet growing demand, growers in the state experienced one of the worst storms in recent history when category 4 hurricane Micheal made landfall in October 2018, from the gulf ripping through Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, wiping out roughly half of the states pecan production.
Georgia on average produces just over 100 million pounds of pecans for the global market, however, that number was dramatically reduced in 2018 to just over 56 million pounds. The past season has fared a little better for Georgia pecan growers as production has begun to rebound climbing 23% to 69 million pounds. This is still significantly lower than the expected crop size. As trees begin to bounce back and orchards are replanted Georgia’s pecan crop is expected to regain much of the lost production next year. The past season saw many of the trees in the storm’s path still affected by the high winds and lost canopy mass.
New Mexico took the lead in 2018 as the largest pecan producing state with just over 90 million pounds of production in 2018 and just over 96 million pounds in 2019. New Mexico made a big jump in 2017 up 20 million pounds from the previous year. New Mexico also has the highest yield per acre fluctuating between 1,800 and 2,100 pounds per acre as compared to Georgia’s 900 down to 500 pounds per acre. The yield per acre numbers for Georgia are expected to improve over the next few years as damaged trees begin to recover. However with the significant loss of trees on many of the farms, it may be more than 5 years before we see the yield per acre number back to their normal levels for Georgia.