Texas pecan production below average due to dry conditions

As we head into pecan season, you might see a difference in comparison to last year. Experts say the drought and heat have impacted orchards all across Texas.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 10:57 PM CDT

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - As we head into pecan season, you might see a difference in comparison to last year. Experts say the drought and heat have impacted orchards all across Texas.

Horticulturists say Texas is predicted to produce 31 million pecans this year, while an average year is typically around 50 million.

Julian Amaya is the owner of Martin’s Pecanville and has seen the effects first hand as he prepares for opening day on Nov. 1.

“What I’m always shooting for is to have enough pecans to go through January one. And this year, I don’t think we’ll make it to January one. Maybe Christmas, hope to make it to Christmas. This was a mediocre year. It’s gonna be a light harvest, but then when the drought hit, a lot of the pecans dried up and fell,” said Amaya.

To alleviate the dryness, watering was key for keeping the pecan trees alive.

“Pecans typically grow near the rivers,” Amaya said. “When you’re not near a river, like we are, you have to water and you have to fertilize.”

Because of the lack of rain, the size of the pecans may be smaller. But, AgriLife Extension Horticulturist Larry Stein says continued irrigation can help alleviate the issue.

“The water helps the tree finish out the kernel, and then the tree has to have water for the shuck to open up on the tree. So, if the tree is stressed, the shuck won’t open up, and so we got to have that late season water to help open up the nuts on the tree,” Stein said.

Stein says pecan trees typically go through cyclical performances from year to year. Heavy crops are usually followed by lighter yields and vice versa.

Amaya said, “Farmer’s last words: maybe next year.”