Pivotal Year for Alabama Pecans

By Clint Thompson

A pivotal year awaits Alabama’s pecan industry. Two years after Hurricane Sally devastated the state’s production, there is renewed optimism about this year’s crop, especially in Mobile and Baldwin counties.

Alabama pecan crop

Bryan Wilkins, Alabama Extension research associate, said growers should have a better idea of where their production stands following the hurricane’s impact in 2020.

“This will be a real telling year to where Alabama is, just how much did we lose. When Sally hit, that was the best crop we’ve had in years. Statewide, we were probably looking at 4 million pounds,” Wilkins said. “We lost everything here in Baldwin and Mobile counties with Sally and Zeta. This is going to be the first year that we’ve had a good crop since Sally. If we can make it without any hurricanes, we’ll have a better idea of what we’re looking at.

“I’m going to be honest with you, it’s still kind of hard to get a feel for what we’ve got until we have a full crop with the hurricane, which will be this year.”

Wilkins estimates around 2 million pounds of production for the state. That would be a huge increase from last season’s down year. Most of the trees in Southwest Alabama were also spared from scab disease pressure up until July.

“We’re better than we were last year. We’re looking really good, haven’t had a lot of scab pressure up until (early July) down here in southwest Alabama. We were real dry in May and June. Once the faucet turned on, it’s stayed on,” Wilkins said. “We’re starting to get a little scab pressure now, but my guys pretty much stay ahead of it. We’re starting to see a little black aphid damage, but everybody’s staying up on it.”