Complicating the problem is the increased demand for U.S. exports, especially from China. Half of all exported pecans will be shipped to China this year before the Thanksgiving holiday and in time for the Lunar New Year celebration in January. The Chinese consumer will be paying $10 to $15 a pound for large, in-shell pecans this year and the demand is rising each year.

China, Hong Kong and Vietnam purchased 27 percent of the U.S. crop last year. That compares with one percent in 2005. Americans bought about 70 percent of the pecan crop in 2005 and only 48 percent last year, and this year, retail price is not going to help drive domestic demand.

Daniel Zedan, an Illinois-based nut broker, predicts domestic retail prices nationwide could soar as high as $10 to $12 a pound for in-shell pecans. On the brighter side, he says, once Chinese shipments are complete by the end of November, domestic retail prices will drop.