COLLEGE STATION – Those who consider pecan pie a -must for Thanksgiving won’t be disappointed this year as the quality of Texas pecans will be high, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
“They should expect to pay a little more, though, as yields are light,” said Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Uvalde.
This year’s crop is in contrast to those of 2012 and 2011, noted Stein,?who specializes in pecans, and fruit and vegetable crops. In 2011, drought cut back yields to about half of normal In 2012, insect pressure was so dispersed that a lot of trees that would have not ordinarily set many pecans had such heavy nut loads that limbs were broken and nut quality down.
Dry weather cut back yields this year, but not to the degree that it did in 2011, and irrigated pecan growers are expecting adequate though not high yields, Stein said.
“This year the crop is much shorter; it’s not that big of a crop across the state,” he said. “There are pecans – it’s not like it’s a total washout, and in certain places there are more pecans than we expected.”
And because drier weather means lower disease problems, the quality should be very good, particularly on irrigated orchards, Stein said, but a lot of factors affect the supply and therefore the price of pecans.
“Where the crop is really short, you’ve got to realize the varmints are all working them hard,” he said. “The crows, squirrels, raccoons, turkey and deer – you name it – are all getting their share right now. And as they say, ‘a short crop always gets shorter and big crop will always get bigger.”
Consumer prices currently are rather high right now, Stein said.
“The market (for growers) appears to be a little soft – there’s not a lot of activity,” he said. “Basically, I expect they (wholesalers) are trying to figure what kind of crop we have across Texas and the rest of the United States. Availability will increase as we approach Thanksgiving.
“But make no mistake: There are pecans across the state and they are available now and for Thanksgiving.”
More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/ .