John R. Pyzner, Mcbride, Jere M., Boethel, David J., Van Osdell, Mary Ann | 12/5/2007 2:29:38 AM
News Release Distributed 11/21/07
Louisiana pecans are plentiful for holiday cooking – just not quite as many as last year’s recording-breaking yield, according to Dr. John Pyzner, pecan-fruit specialist at the LSU AgCenter’s Pecan Research and Extension Station in Shreveport.
This year the total harvest is expected to be 10-12 million pounds, down slightly from an average of about 14 million pounds. Last year’s yield shot up to 21 million pounds, which was unusual, Pyzner said.
“It’s normal to follow a year with higher-than-average yields with one that has lower-than-average yields,” Pyzner said. “We aren’t surprised.”
Retail prices for good-quality pecans should be similar to last year’s prices, Pyzner said.
Adverse weather conditions affected the yield of top-quality pecans at the station, according to Dr. Jere McBride, LSU AgCenter Northwest Louisiana regional director.
“In June and July there was so much rain, we couldn’t control the insects and diseases,” McBride said. “This prevented many growers, especially in northern and central Louisiana, from spraying their orchards properly for scab disease.”
Extremely dry weather in August, September and October caused nut filling problems during that critical stage of pecan development, he said. In addition, the lack of rain caused the shuck to stick to the shell so that many pecans were late opening, which caused harvest to be late, McBride said.
Wholesale pecan prices for growers trended down early in the U.S. market and have steadied, Pyzner said. Georgia, typically the No. 1 producer in the United States, retains that rank again with record yields. Louisiana is usually in fourth or fifth place, behind Texas and New Mexico, and competes with Arizona and Oklahoma in size of yield, Pyzner said.
Pecan production contributed more than $22 million to the Louisiana economy in 2006, according to LSU AgCenter figures.
The LSU AgCenter’s Pecan Station is the only land-grant university research facility devoted solely to pecans. Special features include three greenhouses of 4,000 square feet for pecan research and approximately 80 acres of pecan research orchards ranging in age from 2 to 77 years. The station comprises about 100 acres all together.
The station’s existence is currently threatened by the proposed route of Interstate 69, according to Dr. David Boethel, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for research and director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station.
“We are the premier pecan research and extension center for this region,” Boethel said. “We have been trying to inform pecan growers of this problem, and they have been very supportive of our efforts to get the route changed.”
Contacts: John Pyzner at (318) 797-8034 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Jere McBride at (318) 741-7430 ext. 1108 or email@example.com, David Boethel at (225) 578-4181 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or email@example.com