U.S. pecan production and crop value down in 2018/19
April is National Pecan Month, a time for pecan pies, candied pecans, and other sweet treats. In terms of U.S. agricultural production, pecans rank fourth among tree nuts behind almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. USDA estimates U.S. pecan production for the 2018/19 marketing year to be 221 million pounds, 27 percent below 2017/18. If the 2018/19 estimate is accurate, production will be the lowest in a decade. The small crop reflects declines in all of the eight reported pecan-producing States, with the biggest losses in Georgia and Texas—both major pecan producers. After ranking as the top pecan-producing State for the past several years, Georgia will relinquish that spot to New Mexico in 2018/19. Estimated at only 56 million pounds, Georgia’s pecan production in 2018/19 is down 48 percent from 2017/18 and at its lowest level since 2006/07. This decline is attributed mainly to the damage of Hurricane Michael, which ravaged much of the State’s pecan-growing region in October 2018, downing trees, breaking tree limbs, and blowing nuts off the trees. Apart from Hurricane Michael’s impact on Georgia’s pecan crop, New Mexico and Texas production is estimated at 90 million pounds (down 2 percent from 2017/18) and 28 million pounds (down 43 percent) for 2018/19, respectively. The steep decline in Texas production is due to pecan trees following an alternate bearing production cycle in which production is higher in alternating years. This chart appears in the ERS Fruit and Tree Nut Outlook newsletter, released in March 2019.
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