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Texas Pecan Crops Appear On Track for Slightly Better than Average Year


Hit and miss rains and a bumper 2015 crop could mean a hit-or-miss 2016 for pecan producers around the state, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Uvalde, said the outlook for pecan producers in 2016 is fair to good.

“Some spots are in really good shape while others aren’t,” he said. “Theoretically, 2016 should be an above–average year but it won’t be for everyone.”

Stein said stresses from drought, disease or pests can contribute to reduced yields but much of the blame for light pecan nut loads is a heavy crop the prior year, especially if trees were not managed correctly.

“Some producers had big crops last year,” he said. “It’s just kind of the way it works that if trees make a big crop one year they don’t the next year.”

But conditions appear to be favorable for many producers, Stein said.

The widespread late-season rain event in early August arrived at a perfect time for producers, he said. Nut kernels are forming, and the rain provided nitrogen-infused moisture to feed that process. It also allowed irrigation pumps to sit idle in many areas, which saved producers money.

Stein said producers should be monitoring trees for pests and disease as most harvesting is done in mid-October.

Heavy spring rains contributed to scab infections in some areas, and Stein suspects the disease could re-emerge following the late-season rains. There has also been concern about black aphids as the pests cause leaf drop which can affect the nuts as they fill out.

Weevils are another pest that could negatively impact yields and quality, Stein said. Soft, moist soil allows the pests to emerge and damage nuts as they fill out.

The majority of the state’s pecans grow around Fort Stockton, El Paso, Brownwood and San Saba, where there is less disease pressure and temperatures begin to cool earlier than in other parts of the state, Stein said.

AgriLife Extension district summaries can be found here.

Source: Texas AgriLife Extension

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