Southwest pecan producers are hoping for an “on year” in 2021, and Texas and New Mexico Extension specialists say early observations point out potential for a great crop.
Many Texas producers have had heavy rainfall this spring, a combined blessing providing ample moisture but additionally ample alternative for illness points.
New Mexico hopes to get better from back-to-back fall freezes in 2019 and 2020 that triggered vital harm to orchards.
Pecans flowering on the NMSU Leyendecker Plant Sciences Analysis Heart within the Mesilla Valley. (Picture by Richard Heerema)
“It’s too early to estimate 2021 production,” says New Mexico State College Extension Pecan Specialist Richard Heerema, Las Cruces. “But we have the potential to make a crop,” he provides.
The trade wants a great 12 months.
Heerema says exhausting fall freezes the final two years did vital harm to pecan orchards and contributed to decrease manufacturing.
“At the end of October and early November (Halloween and the following day 2019), a severe freeze in New Mexico, extending into Arizona and parts of Texas, did quite a bit of damage especially to newer orchards and to Wichita pecans.”
Heerema says quite a lot of New Mexico producers needed to reevaluate, and people with younger orchards virtually needed to “start from scratch” in 2020. Most didn’t must replant, but they did reevaluate to find out what number of bushes froze again to the rootstock requiring regrafting, what number of have been completely useless, and what they might save with out regrafting.
“We are still recovering from that freeze,” he says.
Some older bushes, he provides, won’t have proven seen harm. “A few did show damage, but it was rare. Still, the freeze is one reason why production in New Mexico was lower in 2020. A lot of our orchards’ production was down. It’s more complex than that, but the freeze was a factor.”
He says quite a lot of orchards went into final winter (2020) underneath a special situation, a “significantly lower crop load.”
But Mom Nature wasn’t by means of.
“We had another freeze in early October 2020,” Heerema says. “Freezes two years in a row affected a few of the identical areas, additionally some in Arizona and Texas. The Mesilla Valley (New Mexico’s foremost pecan rising space) had cloud cowl and a few snow, so temperatures weren’t as little as in 2019, and the crop was not burdened as a lot.
“Our fear was that snow accumulation would result in a lot of limb breakage since trees still had a lot of leaves. We did not see much breakage in the Mesilla Valley. But other areas in New Mexico got very cold last October, a repeat of 2019. It is unfortunate.”
Heerema says he has not traveled to quite a lot of New Mexico’s pecan orchards thus far this spring to verify the crop load, but what he has seen appears promising.
“Some orchards around the Las Cruces area look like they have good flower production. This indicates at least the potential for a bigger crop load than the last two years. We’re not expecting an off-year-type crop. Things look better than previous years, as far as flowers.”
He says the crop has a protracted solution to go. “Flowers are promising but each flower won’t set a nut. Quite a bit can occur. But flowers are there now, and pollination is going on.
“It is very early, but this is an important point: if we don’t see flowers, we have no chance of making a crop. That’s not the situation. The flowers are there. So, we do have potential. Now, we need to set the flowers into a nut crop.”
Moisture might be a problem because the crop strikes into the summer time months. “Most of New Mexico’s pecan production area is quite dry,” Heerema says. “Southeast New Mexico had a little rain last week. Not much rain has fallen in the Mesilla Valley. We need more precipitation to make the crop.”
A lot of Texas has ample moisture going into the summer time. Spring rainfall throughout a lot of the state needs to be good for the pecan crop, though it would complicate administration.
“Rain is good for pecan trees this time of the year, because they need excellent soil moisture to grow the leaves, which are primarily made in April, May and June,” says Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulture Specialist Monte Nesbitt, Faculty Station.
But he provides a caveat. “That being said, rainfall increases incidence and severity of pecan scab, Fusicladum effusum, the most important disease of pecan trees. It is very likely that initial infections for scab have been promoted by this rainy weather and will begin to manifest in the next month on leaves and developing fruit.”
Nesbitt says a newcomer additionally poses a menace. “A fairly new troublesome fungal disease, pecan leaf dieback, can cause heavy leaf loss in June and July,” he says. “That is a real negative for this year and next year’s pecan crop. We’ve not observed it yet, but these rainy conditions have been favorable.”
Illness points will not be the one challenges pecan producers face with persistent rainfall.
“Rainy weather keeps growers from spraying on time,” Nesbitt says. “This is a key window for spraying pecan trees for pecan nut casebearer, an early-season lepidopteran (moth) insect that can cause the number of nuts on trees to decline. Additionally, the rain disrupts timing of fungicides for pecan scab.”
He says crop situations fluctuate throughout the state. “Grower studies of crop quantity are combined, with some studies of wonderful manufacturing and a few indicating low to average nut set. The far West space (El Paso) has been described as gentle. It’s nonetheless too early to know the place that will likely be by harvest as a result of we nonetheless have time for pollination drop after which the casebearer damage.
“I believe we will see Texas with a moderate to good crop over most of the state.”
Texas produced 45.4 million kilos of pecans final 12 months, third behind Georgia and New Mexico, in accordance with the USDA Nationwide Agriculture Statistics Service.
Nationwide, 2020 pecan manufacturing was up, in comparison with 2019, in accordance with NASS.
NASS studies an 18% enhance in pecans manufacturing over 2019. “Bearing acreage was estimated at 402,000, up 2% from the previous year,” NASS studies.
- 2020 common yield was 752 kilos per acre, up 105 kilos from the earlier 12 months.
- Crop worth totaled $399 million, down 15% from the earlier season with a median annual worth of $1.32 per pound.
- Improved selection pecan manufacturing, 288 million kilos, up 25% from the earlier 12 months.
- Improved selection pecans accounted for 95% of the USA whole pecan manufacturing.
- Native and seedling selection manufacturing totaled 14.2 million kilos, down 42% from 2019.
- Georgia had the very best utilized manufacturing (in-shell foundation) at 142 million kilos, adopted by New Mexico at 77.0 million kilos (in-shell foundation) and Texas at 45.4 million kilos.