The American pecan industry is now entering the start of the growing season with pecan trees across the southern US beginning to wake up from winter dormancy.
A little earlier this year, most pecan tree varieties have begun to swell and start to leaf out, meaning that it’s time for pecan farmers across the country to start watering, feeding, and intensive monitoring their trees for insect activity, as well as overall tree and leaf health.
This time of year is always one of my favorite, as growers finish up planting new trees in the orchards, finish up any last minute irrigation repairs and new installs, have just made some of our first applications of fertilizer and micronutrients, and get ready to start scouting our trees on a regular basis, and applying nutrients based on soil sample reports, there is quite a lot going on in the orchards this time of year.
Dr. Wells has been active in the orchards and on his website updating Eastern growers on happenings around Georgia pecan orchards, and of course posting some valuable information on his UGA pecan extension blog, already covering topics like ambrosia beetle activity, and setting up for a quality scab treatment program.
While the US deals with the coronavirus initiating massive shutdowns across the US, the American pecan industry is business as usual for the most part. While shutting down shelling facilities is a concern, most suppliers have enough product in cold storage to weather any short term shut downs that may be required. On the farm, social distancing is a way of life, so not much change there. Growers have seen several meetings canceled, but most if not all are being rescheduled to a later date.
As we enter into the active growing season for pecans, we will continue to monitor the market conditions very closely. While demand for pecans has been on the uptick here in the domestic market, we expect to see more movement in the export markets in the coming months. First quarter pecan exports slumped from last year, but with the phase one trade deal in place between China and the US we are anticipating increased sales to China over the next two years as part of the trade agreement.