Drought Drying Hopes Of Plentiful Pecan Season in Oklahoma

Sunday, August 12th 2012, 9:20 pm
By: News On 6

Pecans are always in high demand, but because of the drought, they're becoming even harder to find.

Hazel Ward used to buy nuts from Oklahoma and Texas for her Claremore store, The Nut House.

Now she's having to go as far as Alabama to find them.

"Pecans cost me twice as much as they cost me four years ago," Ward said.

That's because the entire United States is suffering an extreme drought.

Mike Spradling, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, said at the beginning of the year, it was estimated the Sooner State would produce 33 million pounds of pecans.

"There's no way, I don't think, that Oklahoma will achieve that," Spradling said. "If they get 20 million pounds, I think we'll still be lucky, and the thing that's going to affect that of the 20 million pounds is what size they'll be, but more importantly, what will the quality be."

Right now, Spradling said his own trees are looking good.

Most are producing plenty of pecans.

"The issue is with a big crop and the drought, will the trees hold the pecans or will they abort?"

With little rain in sight, Spradling is coming up with other ways to keep his trees moist.

He's brought in a pipe irrigation set and is using water from ponds to keep the trees alive.

"The thing that would just really be devastating is you've got trees here 25 years old, and if you had to start all over, I don't have 25 years to wait," he said.

Spradling and Ward are both hoping Mother Nature will give them a break and send heavy rain their way.

Spradling said this year's leaf crop determines next year's pecan crop.

So it's extremely important that he keeps his trees watered this year to avoid having a bad crop next year.