Pecans flourish with mixture of heat and rain - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pecans flourish with mixture of heat and rain

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LEE COUNTY, GA (WALB) - Georgia pecan growers were hoping for a great crop this year. The drought could change that. A third of the state's pecan trees are listed in poor or very poor condition, but the drought could actually have one benefit.

WALB News Ten's Tayleigh Davis talked to a farmer who's optimistic about his irrigated pecan crop. Heat and sun has kept scabs from forming on pecans; however, farmers will need to see a lot of rain between now and harvesting time in October.

Keith Cromartie's pecans are smaller this year. He says they're still looking good despite the drought. His irrigation system is turned off for the first time in months

"Right now we're looking good as far as disease is concerned," said Cromartie.

 He says two inches of rain fell on his pecan orchard in Lee County over the weekend. This year was predicted to be about as good 2007 when south Georgia had ample rain and rays.

"We all were hoping we'd have the crop we had in 2007 but it seems to be a little shorter," Cromartie noted.

On top of this year's severe drought, Cromartie says the crops are still recovering from last year's arid Spring.

"They were just worn out when they came out in the Spring," Cromartie added.

He's been running his irrigation system ragged too. 75 percent more last month.

He uses drip irrigation, but has not watered his crop the past couple days because of the rain.

Cromartie's irrigation system is on standby just to make sure he has enough to grow a hardy crop ripe for the pickin' this Fall.

Even though the rain is good, Cromartie will have to spray the trees more with pesticides since the water washes them away.

Farmers say pecan trees especially need rain in September to give them time to fill out for harvesting season between October and December.