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Economist predicts poor pecan year

Even though the pecan crop is very far from harvest, experts forecast below average yields for the entire state due to a severe drought, Texas Cooperative Extension reports.

Also, mid-June hail took about 80 percent to 90 percent of the crop in West Texas, said Jim Word, Ector County Extension agent.

“The hail was severe, but it didn't totally denude the trees. They probably lost 60 percent to 70 percent of the foliage and 80 percent to 90 percent of the pecan crop.”

Quality is predicted to be fair to good of the nuts that remain, while last year there were large amounts of nuts, but the quality was very poor, he said.

Joe Peña, Extension economist in Uvalde, said the Central Texas crop is doing better than the western part of the state despite the drought.

“We set up a good crop. Our estimate is that we are going to harvest about 42.5 million pounds, which is down from last year's 61 million pounds, but our gut feeling says it's going to be lower unless we get some rain right now,” he said.

The whole pecan belt is experiencing a severe drought and extensive nut drop, Peña said. Nut drop is when the tree sheds its load because of stress.

The pecan belt, in Central Texas along Interstate 35, is where the largest amounts of pecans are produced. Central Texas is responsible for 70 percent to 80 percent of the state's pecan production.

This is not just a Texas problem; the pecan crop for the entire United States is in an off year, Peña said.

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