By Clint Thompson
Pecan producers desperately need a productive season in yields and prices following years of frustration on the heels of Hurricane Michael in 2018. The growers could get their wish.
Farmers could see high yields combined with favorable market prices, which should add up to the best season in years for producers.
“This year it looks like we’ve got a good crop, and all indications are that the price is going to be relatively strong considering the crop load that we have. You’ve got a good crop and looking at possibly a good price,” said Lenny Wells, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist. “That’s what I’m hearing from folks in the shelling industry, demand is up strong and there’s not a lot in storage, so we should see some decent prices even with a pretty good crop out there.”
Unfortunately, that has been the scenario growers have faced heading into harvest season since Michael devastated the region October, 2018. The crop was still reeling from the hurricane’s aftermath in 2019.
Producers had a bountiful crop in 2020. Georgia produced 147.5 million pounds in 2020; more than double its output in 2019 (73 million) and in 2018 (70 million). But the strong yields were negated by shockingly low market prices.
Alabama’s crop was devastated by Hurricanes Sally and Zeta in 2020 and has yet to recover.
Prices improved a little bit last year, but yields dropped mostly due to pecan trees being alternate bearing.
Growers need this positive forecast to come to fruition.
“They really need a good (year) because after Hurricane Michael, there were a couple of really rough years. Then we had a good crop, but the year we had a big crop the prices were terrible. Last year was kind of an off crop again,” Wells said. “We really need a good crop with some good prices to get things turned around.”