The U.S. is the world leader in pecan production, with hundreds of millions of pounds harvested annually, but experts in the industry said the weather can affect pecans in many ways.
Georgia is the top producer each year with nearly 200,000 acres of the high-quality source of protein, but tropical weather can wreak havoc with the crop.
"Hurricanes and tropical storms from August to October are particularly damaging," said Lenny Wells, a pecan specialist at the University of Georgia.
"Supply is good this year, and price to the consumer is lower from what I have seen," Wells said. "Unfortunately, the price to the farmer is much lower, and the cost of production is much higher."
Hurricane Michael in 2018 devastated the state’s crop with more than $260 million in lost trees – a loss from which growers are still trying to recover.
The University of Georgia Extension office estimated it could take a decade or more for growers’ orchards to reach pre-storm levels.
Aside from tropical trouble, temperatures and precipitation associated with other storm systems can be pivotal in determining how bountiful a season will be.
Pecan trees tend to prefer drier weather with good soil moisture, but wet periods can introduce disease and impact production.
Texas and New Mexico are also known for their high production levels. Instead of concerns over moisture, the ongoing drought in Texas and the Southwest has experts warning there might be some effect on the season’s production.
Larry Stein, a horticulturist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, told a university publication the drought could lead to a smaller pecan size.
"Drought was stressful on the trees, but the producers who were able to keep up on irrigation should be fine," Stein said.
More than 85% of the country is dealing with drought conditions ranging from abnormally dry to exceptional.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, crop damage starts to show after a prolonged period of moderate drought conditions, and losses start to mount when droughts reach severe status.