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Pecan farmers anticipating successful harvest

Posted at 9:02 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 12:20:40-04

CENTRAL TEXAS — Countless crops in Central Texas had to navigate some wild weather this year, with some faring better than others.

2021 brought it all: A crippling winter storm, frequent bouts of heavy rain, and major temperature swings.

Being at the mercy of the weather is just a fact of life for a farmer.

"You never can depend on a pecan crop until you get it gathered," said Joe Brooks, general manager of Pecans.com. "And so, that's just like any other farming operation. The weather can get you at any time."

Pecans.com isn't just a website. It's a store in downtown Goldthwaite selling varieties of locally-grown pecans.

Brooks says a massive amount of rainfall from something like a tropical system would have been a problem, but the frequent rain that fell when we typically experience dry weather was actually a good thing for their pecans.

"The rains in July really helped," said Brooks. "And so we got some good early rains. Most of the Central Texas area. And so we think it's going to be a little above average."

By above average, he means their expected yield for this year.

That's great news, especially after a year that started out with a dreadful winter storm. But with other crops like hay and cotton experiencing setbacks due to the rain, what was it about pecans that allowed the crop to take advantage of all that water?

Jessica Steward, SQF practitioner at Pecans.com, has an answer.

"With it coming that early, and then drying out later, it's better for the pecans themselves instead of having it extremely dry at that time of the summer, and wet later," Steward said.

Pecan imports from Mexico are expected to be down this year, leading to more demand for pecans from Texas growers. The economic benefits should be passed on to local farmers.

"That'll help our native growers maybe get a little better price for their pecans," Brooks said.

Like Brooks said, you can never be absolutely sure of a harvest until the crop is in your hands, but the signs are pointing to a quality year.

Even with an increased demand for local nuts, you probably won't have to worry about store shelves running too low. There should be enough of your favorite varieties to go around for your traditional autumn recipes.