In a year dominated by higher rainfall totals across much of Arizona, the rain and increased costs for energy and other production related expenses will impact pecan growers like Danny Tingle of Cochise County. He expects harvest to begin just after Thanksgiving and wrap up around the end of December.
“This is an alternate bearing year so the yield will be about a third of the 2005 crop which totaled one-quarter-million pounds on our farm,” he said. Tingle manages the 200-acre Sunland Farms operation in southeastern Arizona. The farm’s pecan acreage includes 135 bearing acres and 65 non-bearing acres.
Tingle’s eyes were glued to the sky this year as 12 to 16 inches of rain fell north of his operation. While the excessive rainfall missed the pecan operation, water totals were higher than normal. The impact was reduced aphid insect damage and increased weed numbers. Hail was spotty in the area but missed Tingle’s operation.
According to the 2005 Arizona Agricultural Statistics Bulletin, Arizona ranked fourth in the country in pecan production, yielding 22 million pounds for a $35.2 million value. Prices averaged $1.60 per pound, down $.25 from 2004. Pecans were grown in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. The 2002 Census of Agriculture reported 81 pecan farmers in Arizona growing nuts on 18,811 acres.
In 2004, California ranked seventh nationally in pecan production growing nuts on 2,600 acres in Tulare County which added $7.7 million to the state’s economy, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
New Mexico is among the nation’s top pecan producers with almost 25 percent of the U.S. crop. The state’s Mesilla Valley in Dona Ana County received heavy rainfall and hail late this summer so pecan production is expected to be lower.