by Susan M. Collins-Smith, MSU Extension Service
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Despite weather challenges combined with a decreased production year for most pecan varieties, Mississippi’s 2020 crop will be decent.
“Overall, yield around the state was impacted by various environmental factors, like frost, excessive early spring rains and tropical winds and moisture,” said Eric Stafne, fruit and nut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “There will be pecans available, but they may not be as plentiful as in recent years.”
The Delta, a main area of production, saw early ripening of pecans this year, which helped mitigate damage from Hurricane Delta, Stafne said.
Max Draughn, president of the Mississippi Pecan Growers Association said yields will vary depending on where orchards are located because of numerous issues impacting different parts of the state where pecans are grown.
“The northern part of the state got a late freeze that got a lot of their blooms,” said Draughn, who owns and operates Bass Pecan Company in Raymond. “Growers in the southern part of the state got winds and storms from various hurricanes that knocked a lot of nuts on the ground. Some of those nuts will be okay because they were filled out, but some nuts were not ready for harvest. They’ll lose those.”
Growers in the central part of the state, including Draughn, expect a decent yield.
Pecans await harvest at Bass Pecan Company in Raymond, Mississippi, Oct. 26, 2020. Mississippi pecan producers expect a decent yield after being impacted by a decreased production year on top of weather challenges, including frost, heavy spring rains, and tropical winds and moisture. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
“It is a down year for pecans,” Draughn said, explaining that pecans produce in alternating years. “But our yield should be okay. In this area of the state, we’ve had a good weather year. We got timely rains that contributed to good nut growth but not so much that we had disease problems.”
Market prices are down due to inventory in cold storage and decreased sales to Mississippi’s regular buyers. Most of Mississippi’s crop is sold to out-of-state and overseas buyers, including China.
“We have a good number of pecans in cold storage, and China is not buying because of increased tariffs,” Draughn said. “Growers may not be able to sell their native varieties to the wholesale market, but they will be able to sell their improved varieties. The prices will just be down.”
Many growers will sell more of their pecans direct to the consumer this year, Draughn said.
For more information about Mississippi-grown pecans and where to purchase them, visit the Mississippi Pecan Growers Association web site at mspecans.org/.