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Agricultural News

Size of 2019 Oklahoma Pecan Harvest Could Be Determined by Prices

Mon, 11 Nov 2019 11:22:18 CST

Size of 2019 Oklahoma Pecan Harvest Could Be Determined by Prices It’s a busy Fall season for Oklahoma Pecan growers looking to harvest the nuts from their trees, but with all the heavy rains, its kept a lot of growers out of the orchards. Dr. Charles Rohla from the Noble Research Institute says even with the rains, growers are excited to get out to harvest. “Crop looks really good, but it seems like it’s gotten to dwindle in total production and prices are possibly becoming an issue.”

Dr. Rohla and Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays talked about the 2019 Pecan Season recently- and you can hear their complete conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.

While the market hasn’t officially opened in Oklahoma, Rohla tells Hays that growers are looking at if they can afford to harvest, and if the market is there or not. Oklahoma is one of the major states when it comes to native trees which is somewhat of a cyclical production. Rohla mentions “Pecans are alternate bearing, meaning they produce a heavy crop followed by a low crop, or no crop. If trees are left unmanaged that no crop might be one to five years, and we are kind of in that cycle.”

Weather, Rain, and disease can also affect the pecan growth. This year one of the main issues has been all the rain the state has seen which can cause pecan scab, a disease caused by fungus on the trees. Another issue this year is Anthracnose, which is usually a minor disease that comes on late in the season. Rohla says they have seen trees destroyed from the Anthracnose, along with water split from big rains, shell hardening, and with the higher temperatures, a lot of sprouting “There’s been orchards that I know that have lost 20 to 40% of their crop due to seed sprouting.”

So what does the pecan crop look like this year? Rohla says “for Oklahoma, with 75% of our production being natives, its going to really depend on the price. A grower is really going to need a dollar, to a dollar fifteen per pound to really go out and start harvesting and bringing those to the market.” Right now, the prices are hovering around that dollar mark, which Rohla says is going to deter some producers to go out there and pick it up. “If the market should get up to around a dollar twenty-five, he says there could easily be thirty-two, to thirty-five million pounds out in Oklahoma”

The State has also seen some early freezes, and at this point growers are unsure about how much damage that is going to cause. If the shucks are frozen to the nut, they are not harvestable. Strong winds have also damaged trees, making it difficult for growers to clean up the orchards. When asked about attributes that might make pecan trees more suitable for our climate Rohla says Depending on what part of Oklahoma you are in, there will be different things you have to watch for, “If you are West of I-35 you aren’t so worried about the scab issue. If you are East, you need to be looking at cultivars that are resistant to scab. With the environment changing, and a lot more moisture, we are seeing this problem creep up on growers and they need to get ahead of it, spraying for it early to prevent it. Because once you get it, you can’t stop it.”


Ron Hays talks 2019 Pecan Crop with Dr. Charles Rohla with the Noble Research Institute
right-click to download mp3


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