Alabama had a bumper crop of pecans going into spring. But persistent rainfall changed the picture.
Now a week into a dry harvest, growers report lower pecan yields because of scab infestations accelerated by humidity. Similar losses to the fungus that grows on the nuts and the leaves are reported in north Florida and Georgia.
Art Sessions of Grand Bay, who runs a pecan warehouse, said some growers did well if they sprayed to fight the scab infestations, but nationwide the supply of pecans is low.
Georgia is considered the number one pecan-producing state in the nation. Texas, with commercial pecan operations located throughout the state, ranks second in most years. Alabama ranked seventh in production last year.
Pecans are grown in about 34 south Alabama counties, with Mobile and Baldwin counties the major suppliers.
In its preliminary estimate, the Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service projects a harvest of eight million pounds this year, compared to last year's five million, when weather again damaged the crop.
The good news is that this year's crop is about two weeks early and cool, dry conditions have made it easier to harvest.
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