Mississippi’s pecan harvest slightly behind schedule

State

Harvest is slightly behind schedule for Mississippi’s pecan crop due to a cold, wet spring and early summer, but quality and yield are looking good so far in much of the state. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Michaela Parker)

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service announced harvest is slightly behind schedule for Mississippi’s pecan crop due to a cold, wet spring and early summer.

However, they said quality and yield are looking good so far in much of the state. One exception is in the state’s southeast quadrant, which was battered by Hurricane Ida in late August.

“Wind damage caused broken branches, downed trees, loss of leaves, increased disease pressure and overall increase in tree stress,” said Eric Stafne, fruit and nut specialist with the MSU Extension Service. “I am seeing trees re-leaf now in south Mississippi, where most of the crop is closer to poor condition. We also had tremendous rainfall in the spring and early summer that led to high disease amounts, especially pecan scab.”

Max Draughn, president of the Mississippi Pecan Growers Association, acknowledged a heavy year for scab, a fungal disease that develops in rainy conditions from shucks, leaf petioles and stems infected the previous season.

“Rains have been timely for most of the year, so quality of pecans should be excellent,” Draughn said. “Even though it has been a heavy year for scab, most managed orchards have been able to adequately address the situation.”

The retail range on prices per pound for shelled pecan halves is $13 to $16.

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