Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico Went Nuts in 2003

Texas edges Georgia out of No. 1 spot in nation’s pecan production for the year. J.T. Smith

Published on: Dec 29, 2003

The holiday season in the Southwest didn’t suffer from any lack of pecans from the 2003 harvest.

Through December, Oklahoma had harvested 12 million pounds of pecans, up 20% from the crop’s output of 10 million pounds a year earlier, reports Barry L. Bloyd, state statistician with the Oklahoma Agricultural Statistics Service, Oklahoma City.

Meanwhile, Texas really knocked a homerun.

Rebecca Baillie of the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service, Austin, says the total Texas pecan crop for 2003 figures out well above the 2002 nut harvest.

Texas’ December 2003 figures show a pecan crop of a whopping 70 million pounds compared with 40 million pounds a year earlier—or a 75% increase.

For many years, Texas has traditionally been the No. 2 pecan-producing state, second to Georgia, among the 14 states that make pecan crop reports. But winter season, the 70 million-pound Texas harvest even surpassed Georgia’s 2003 harvest of 60 million pounds to move Texas into the top ranking in pecan production.

New Mexico was right behind Georgia with 55 million pounds of pecans as the third-ranking pecan growing state for the year, while greatly surpassing its 36 million pounds from the previous year’s harvest.

Although rainfall didn’t come early enough for many crops in Texas, some widespread fall rains came just right for pecans.

Dr. Billy Warrick, veteran Texas A&M agronomist, San Angelo, says the rainfall timing was everything.

"A wet September was the big reason," Warrick observes. "It made for good nut fill, and good shuck opening."

The result was a bumper 2003 pecan crop. "It just finished off a good crop and made it a great pecan crop," Warrick says appreciatively.