BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - As Louisiana pecan farmers get prepared for the harvest season, they are optimistic that their crops will be much better than what they saw last ear.
On average, Louisiana produces 20 million pounds of the nuts.
This year, the total is expect to be near 10 million, which would be up from the 8 million pounds produced last year.
In 2017, excessive rainfall caused a fungus called scab to form on pecan trees. This can be treated but never completely killed.
Scab caused the lower crop numbers.
Last year's smaller crop also was full of low-quality pecans.
That means the pecans weren't full, Mike Montgomery said.
Such low-quality nuts require a lot more work for the shellers.
They also are more likely to produce a lot more waste due to smaller pieces.
This year, most of Louisiana is dealing with some sort of drought condition.
Montgomery said this could cause a smaller pecan crop because there isn't enough water to fill the pecan to full size.
Pecan farmers from throughout the United States have grouped together to think of a marketing strategy for the nut.
Almonds, walnuts and pistachios have had the upper hand.
Montgomery said the pecans have the highest antioxidants than any other tree nut.
For that reason, countries that never have bought nuts from the United States are starting to do so.
The largest client of U.S.-grown pecans is China.
Farmers are concerned that with tariffs increasing by 40%, there will be an oversupply of the nut.
By oversupply, Montgomery meant 8 million to 10 million pounds.