Louisiana pecans are worth an estimated $12 million to the state economy every year. And the crop's just one of hundreds that's been affected by this year's drought. That means smaller pecans...and fewer of them. However, Randy Sanderlin of the LSU AgCenter says the nut that are harvested are of great quality. During a time when pecan prices are double what they were two years ago, that's encouraging news for growers. They just wish they had more to sell.
"When we got to August of the drought, the trees shed a lot of pecans," says Sanderlin. "They just dropped them because they couldn't carry them any longer. The pecans that have remained on the trees are gonna be smaller in size, so some are reduced to almost fifty percent of their normal size."
Last year, Louisiana produced about 20 million pounds of pecans. Sanderlin estimates that will be closer to 10 million this year. For now, he says, the trees have made it through the drought...but he says they can't do it forever. "We're concerned that if we do't get some replenishing rainfall this winter, we may actually begin to see trees die instead of the trees being able to shed pecans," he added.