RAYMOND, Miss. (WJTV) – A late freeze, high summertime temperatures and a drought mean a poor pecan crop for Mississippi in 2023.
Eric Stafne, fruit and nut specialist with the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service, said weather stacked the odds against a good crop this year.
“Despite the late freeze, some trees still set a decent crop, but the heat and drought caused poor nut fill and dropped immature nuts during the summer. The drought could have carryover effects into next year, too, by reducing development of fruiting buds,” said Stafne.
Max Draughn, president of the Mississippi Pecan Growers Association and owner of Bass Pecan Nursery and Pecan Hill Farms in Raymond, said the late freeze in March destroyed any blooms that were on the trees.
“This affected the middle part of the state the most and resulted in a short crop for those areas. Overall, the quantity of nuts is there but quality is lacking,” he said.
Although rains were abundant early in the year, the drought from July on caused problems throughout the state.
About 10% of the state’s pecan orchards are irrigated and were better able to deal with the drought, but the high temperatures that accompanied the drought caused other problems.
“The high heat caused a darkening of the pecan kernels and an appearance of vein lines in the kernels. There was too much heat for too long in August this year,” Draughn said.