New Mexico leads US in pecan production

Trade

In this file photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009, a pecan tree with nuts still on its branches is seen in an orchard near Las Cruces, N.M. Pecan farmers in southern New Mexico are behind schedule on harvesting this year’s crop, and Mother Nature is to blame. Wet weather muddied fields, keeping the heavy nut harvesting machinery from moving through orchards. (AP Photo/Las Cruces Sun-News, Shari Vialpando)

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The numbers are in and U.S. agricultural officials say New Mexico marked a record year of pecan production in 2019 to lead the nation.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported last Thursday that production in the Southwest state topped out at more than 96 million pounds (43,545 metric tons), up 6% from the previous year.

Georgia followed with 69 million pounds (31,298 metric tons), but many trees there are still recovering from the effects of last year’s Hurricane Michael. Hot, dry weather from late August through October also had negative effects on Georgia’s yield.

Overall, the value of the nation’s pecan crop totaled $469 million, up 14% from the previous season.

In New Mexico, pecans were worth just over $170 million in 2019, down 2 percent from the previous year. The average yield per acre in the state increased by 120 pounds (54 kilograms) to finish at 2,100 pounds (953 kilograms) .

Agricultural officials said yield nationwide also was up, with pecan producing states averaging nearly 670 pounds (304 kilograms) per acre.

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