Lots of pecans trees, not many nuts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lots of pecans trees, not many nuts

July 6, 2006

Dougherty County --    A smaller crop could make finding Georgia Pecans this year a tougher nut to crack. While those main stays may be slim, the nuts that are cracked could be a better quality.  

Georgia is the nation's leading producer of pecans, producing 92 million pounds a year for general consumption.  This year, that crop is expected to be significantly less.  

With three million Pecan trees in Georgia, you probably won't have a hard time finding one. But this year, finding nuts like these on those trees won't be as easy to do.

This year's pecan harvest is still three months off, but there's already concern about what's seen, or not seen on local pecan trees.  "This is bad, can't even find a tree that's got nuts on it," says Sunnyland Farms manager Larry Willson. "Much smaller [crop] than last year, yes."

"We'll make Pecans but, but generally Stuart and Desirable are the two main stays," says Willson.

Last year's large crop, although poor in quality due to late season rains, meant this year's crop was already predicted to be short. And while it's still early, chances are the quality of this crop will be better. "Generally with the shorter crop on the trees, there's more stored energy there to fill out the Pecans that you have."

A smaller supply, but better quality could raise prices this year, but since prices were so high last year, they may be relatively stable.  "I don't know how they could pay anymore than last year, even though we had a more abundance, the quality was so week that the good quality nuts were still high," says Willson.    

The dryer weather this year has actually been good for the crop. Most fields have irrigation systems and less water in the season actually keeps down pests and molds that might damage the trees and their crops.  The price for a pound of pecans right now, is around two dollars in the shell for very high quality. Lower quality pecans sold for under a dollar. You can find them in the grocery store, already shelled, between three and five dollars a pound.

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