By Clint Thompson
Pecan harvests are commencing for early varieties across Georgia and Alabama. Growers should be mindful of last-minute spray applications that might be needed moving forward during this production season.
Lenny Wells, University of Georgia (UGA) Extension pecan specialist, provides producers a checklist of what they should be wary of heading into harvest season.
“Scab sprays have pretty much wound down at this point. Usually by mid-to-late August, we’ve got shell hardening. At that point they should be relatively protected from any damage from scab that may jump on there,” Wells said. “There are still a few insects out there to worry about; aphids, mites, weevils, stinkbugs. All the sprays should be winding down here pretty soon.”
As harvests are starting across the Southeast, Wells said pawnees are among the first to mature. They are also among the most popular varieties growers have planted in recent years.
“We’re starting to shuck split on pawnee already. Of course, all of the spraying is about done on those. I would say (soon) we’ll start harvesting pawnees,” Wells said. “Normally towards the middle to end of September is when we get started on those.
“Of the newer plantings, pawnee is a very large percentage. The last few years that we took surveys of what was being planted, pawnee was the No. 1 variety being planted.”
Forecasting Georgia’s pecan yields for this year is difficult following Hurricane Idalia. It rocked Georgia’s pecan industry, wiping out a substantial amount of trees and yields in the southeast part of the state. Wells estimates that 50% to 80% of the crop was blown out in trees in Southeast Georgia, which amounts to about a third of the pecan production in Georgia.