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Challenges in US Pecan Harvest Lead to Lower Yields and Higher Prices

November 16, 2023

Georgia, the leading pecan producer in the United States, has faced challenges with this year’s harvest, resulting in a decline in yields. Several factors contributed to this setback, including severe weather events such as hurricanes and storms alongside insufficient rainfall in certain areas. Meanwhile, strong winds caused the destruction of approximately 100,000 pecan trees, resulting in the loss of an estimated 60–65 million pounds of fruit. Following this devastation, many pecan growers in the affected regions have chosen not to replant their trees.

Pecan farmers across several states are grappling with significant losses, estimated at 70 million pounds in Georgia, 75 million pounds in New Mexico and 30 million pounds in Texas. Other states, including Florida, Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina and South Carolina, have also reported substantial reductions in yields.

Heavy precipitation in mid-October further hindered harvesting efforts for some growers, causing trees in some orchards to lose leaves and slowing overall growth. In certain areas, the harvested pecans exhibited spotty, dark meat, which has affected both quality and pricing.

Fertilized and irrigated orchards have fared better, and while yields have remained below average, these orchards are expected to balance out the supplies needed for the upcoming holiday season. The reduced harvest this year is reflected in higher purchase prices. The majority of the available Pawnee harvest has already been ordered, and the remaining stock is being sold for between $1.90 and $2.25 per pound, depending on quality and meat yield.

Elliott pecans are priced between $1 and $1.25 per pound, Stuart pecans are selling for $1 per pound and MoneyMaker pecans are fetching $0.70–0.85 per pound. Limited supplies of Desirable, Oconee and Excel are selling for $1.83–1.86 per pound. Some mixed Desirable pecans with meat yields of 50–52% are selling for as much as $3.50–3.64 per pound. Eclipse and Lakota pecans are currently being prepared for sale, with prices yet to be determined.

With cooler temperatures in November reducing the risk of heavy rain and other adverse weather conditions, pecan farmers have intensified their harvesting efforts, leading to increased supplies during the second week of this month. Currently, the prices of pecans remain relatively stable, and buyers in the United States face competition from Asian markets. Numerous orders have already been secured, particularly for export-grade and gift-pack-quality pecans.

Image: Unsplash

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.


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