By Clint Thompson
Southwest Alabama’s pecan crop is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Sally in 2020. That is a big reason the crop is expected to be down this year, according to Bryan Wilkins, Alabama Extension research associate.
“We’re probably somewhere around 2, 2.5 million pounds, maybe a little more, if we make it through this drought,” Wilkins said. “We’re down this year. It’s just that off cycle. After Sally we’re just in that off cycle.”
Hurricane Sally impacted the pecan crop substantially in Baldwin and Mobile counties when it moved through the area on Sept. 16, 2020. Trees were knocked over. Leaves were stripped off of those that did not tumble over. It has created an alternate bearing cycle that is worse than normal.
The situation was made dire due to the ongoing dry conditions that have plagued the region in recent weeks.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the southwest corner of the state is in a moderate drought, mostly concentrated in Mobile and Baldwin counties, along with Monrore, Conecuh and Escambia counties.
“Down in Southwest Alabama we’re real dry. We’ve been fighting triple digit temperatures now for a while,” Wilkins said. “I know here at the station, in about the last six weeks, we’ve had less than three inches of rain or just right at three inches of rain. If somebody’s got irrigation, they’re probably okay. If they don’t have irrigation, they’re probably going to see decreased nut size. On the plus side, it’s really kept the scab in check.
“Everything’s hurting over here. We’re just dry. We’re just like the rest of the Southeast, hot and dry. But we’ve been in a prolonged pattern over here for a while now.”