2023 update on Texas pecan production, prices and pests

Randi Williams, Texas AgriLife Today

September 14, 2023

Although prices remain steady, consumers should pay extra attention to early pecan harvest production, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Drought may affect pecan production this year, but prices should remain steady. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Laura McKenzie)

Larry Stein, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Uvalde, said pecan production in some regions of the state is looking positive, thanks to water supplies available for irrigation, but the drought is still playing a significant role in the quality of this year’s pecan harvest.  

Pecan production affected by the drought

Certain areas in Texas have experienced rainfall that has allowed pecan production to continue as usual. One of those areas is Far West Texas, including around El Paso. This area has continued pecan production as expected since it received rainfall, creating ample water supplies for irrigation systems to pull water from the river.

Other areas without enough water supplies for irrigation have lost some of their crops due to trees dying.

“Now is the prime time to pull the kernel inside,” Stein said. “But we aren’t sure how well the later crop will turn out.”

Producers have noticed that early native pecan varieties such as Pawnee, Mandan and Eclipse have started opening up, and these varieties look exceptional.

Pecan pricing

Although prices of other crops have gotten higher this year, the cost of pecans is not expected to increase from the previous year’s prices of $2 to $3 per pound for in-shell pecans and $4 per pound for shelled pecans.

Consumers preparing to purchase pecans from this harvest should expect to see availability from late September to early October.

“Consumers might be better off purchasing the early harvested pecans since we don’t know the outcome of the varieties that will open later in the season,” Stein said.

Pecan pests

Due to dry conditions, pests that usually attack pecan production have been minor, Stein said. During the earlier months of production, producers sprayed for the yearly summer pests, but pests didn’t have much impact on production.

Producers have reported that the black and yellow aphid populations have been minimal this season.

“The drought is a blessing in disguise for pecan producers,” Stein said. “This year’s drought has reduced the number of pests we have seen.”

Southern Livestock

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