Louisiana pecan farmers expect a bad harvest this year
BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Louisiana pecan farmers expect this year's crop to come up short.
A good year yields close to 20 million pounds of pecans, growers say, but it looks like this year's production might not even be half of that.
Mike Montgomery, who owns Montgomery Pecan Farms in Bossier City, said the projection was 15 million to 16 million pounds earlier this year.
Adverse weather conditions have since lessened that projection to 8 million to 10 millions pounds, he added.
Researchers say the scarcity of sunshine in August had a big impact on this year's crop.
Only four clear days were recorded in August in Shreveport, according the National Weather Service preliminary monthly climate data.
Of the other 27 days, 19 had partly cloudy skies and 8 were cloudy days.
"The trees were not able to photosynthesize, which produced a low-quality nut," Montgomery explained.
"This year, we have seen a lot of light pecans. The kernel might look good from the outside. But when you break it in half, it's a little hollow or there might not be anything in the kernel at all."
Below is an example of a bad pecan:
And this is a pecan kernel with a hollow inside:
These are what good pecans look like:
Pecans with hollow insides are not nearly as valuable.
"You take a pound of pecans and weigh the good meat versus the bad meat in the shell," Montgomery explained.
"You get paid based on the weight of the good meat. If the good meat is very light, then it's going to bring your yield down, which will bring the price down."
Pecans of mediocre quality will fetch a little over $1 a pound.
Average quality pecans sell for just more than $1.50 a pound.
And top quality draws $2.50 to $3 per pound.
Montgomery said he has not seen any top quality pecans in Louisiana so far this year.
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