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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

NMSU Horticulturist Keeps Pecan Growers Informed

LAS CRUCES -- Pecan growers in the western United States and northern Mexico are facing a decline in crop production this year. Growers from both sides of the border met recently to open the lines of communication and to discuss their concerns about this year's crop, marketing trends and orchard management practices.

At the meeting with the Western Pecan Growers' Association, Esteban Herrera, a horticulturist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, was appointed as the area's information representative. He will serve as a contact for questions regarding pecan production in the western United States.

During the meeting, growers from West Texas, Arizona and California, as well as Chihuahua, Sonora and Coahuila, Mexico, talked about the need to improve the exchange of information among growers in both countries.

The decrease in pecan production has prompted growers on both sides of the border to want to share information about weather, harvesting and marketing issues," Herrera said. "Growers in western United States and northern Mexico share the same concerns about orchard management and marketing because their climates, harvest dates and selling price are very similar."

Herrera will soon begin publishing a monthly newsletter for members of the Western Pecan Growers' Association with information about rainfall, nut development, orchard practices, harvesting, industry news and marketing trends. Informational crop reports about quantity and quality of nuts harvested also will be included.

"In 1997, we will begin performing our own estimates of projected crop production for the pecan belt," Herrera said. Representatives will travel to the different geographic areas to make educated harvest projections.

"We often disagree with national estimates from other agricultural data services," Herrera said. "For example, the national estimate for New Mexico production this year is 30 million pounds of pecans. We will probably harvest only about 22 million pounds."

Because pecans alternate between high and low production cycles, Herrera cautions that next year's harvest may be as low as this year's, averaging 30 to 50 percent less than 1995 when New Mexico growers produced 45 million pounds of pecans. "In New Mexico, freezing weather this October also damaged flowering buds on pecan trees which may affect next year's crop."

For more information about New Mexico pecan production or the upcoming newsletter, contact Herrera at (505) 646-2921.