By Clint Thompson
Like pecans in other parts of the Southeast, Alabama’s crop is high on quality and quantity this season. Their market value remains low, however.
That’s not what growers were hoping for with their first full crop following Hurricane Sally.
Bryan Wilkins, Alabama Extension research associate, discussed the crop’s progress this year.
“It was a little slow getting started. We turned off dry in August and September when we needed rain. The quality still looks pretty good. Some of them are not filled out like they should as you’d expect with the rain shutting off, the ones that didn’t have irrigation,” Wilkins said. “I think everything opened at once here the last few weeks. We had some varieties that had a delayed shuck split, because it got so dry. But we’ve had a few rains that have helped that out.”
Unfortunately, the crop’s market price has not matched its productivity. Prices are low for Alabama’s farmers. It is not an ideal scenario since most growers don’t have the ability to cold store their crop.
“Most of our guys are so small now. We don’t have the cold storage facilities over here like they have over in Georgia,” Wilkins said. “They offer us a lot less than what they offer (growers in) South Georgia. Our prices are always 20 cents or 30 cents behind, and our quality is just as good. I don’t know if it’s because we’re not quite as big or what, but we’re always running a little bit behind on the price game. It’s pretty low over here.”
Wilkins believes his growers will be harvesting into December but should be done well before Christmas.
“Everything looks pretty good considering all the rain we had during the critical scab period. Guys did a great job with their spraying. I haven’t seen anybody that just lost a lot to scab. We’ve got a good crop, a lot of pecans. It’s just trying to get something for them,” he added.