Pecan producers will soon enter a critical point in this year’s production season in ensuring their trees have adequate moisture. If the current dry period continues as expected into August, water needs will be even more essential.
According to UGA Extension Pecan Management calendar, water needs increase from 120 to 158 gallons per tree per day in July to 300 to 350 gallons per tree per day in August. The needs increase from 1,440 to 1,896 gallons per acre per day in July to 3,600 to 4,200 gallons per acre per day in August.
“If we turn off really hot and dry in August and September, which we have seen happen many times in the past, if you’re not watering adequately during that time, mid-August through September, you can lose a lot of your crop,” University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells said. “Especially when they’re really loaded, there’s a huge water demand there. If they get stressed at all for water in a situation like that, they’ll start aborting nuts. It would be a big problem.
“We really need to get really good kernel fillings. We do need a few timely rains during that mid-August to that mid-September period to really help us get kernels filled like we need. Especially when the trees are this loaded.”
Irrigation will be critical. According to Pam Knox, UGA Extension Agricultural Climatologist, hot and dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the Southeast for the next month.