Like many other tree nuts, pecans are protected by a hull, which dries and splits shortly before harvest. Inside is hard-shelled nut.
Like many other tree nuts, pecans are protected by a hull, which dries and splits shortly before harvest. Inside is hard-shelled nut.

Although Georgia's spring started out wet and had Extension specialists worried about increased disease pressures, a dry summer helped save the pecan crop.

The state's pecan crop is projected to be 85 million to 90 million pounds—about the same as last year's crop, according to a news release.

Prices also have been encouraging, with contract prices ranging between $2.40-$2.50 for the Stuart variety and $2.85-$2.95 for Desirables, the most widely planted variety.

The season started out rainy with high scab pressures.

"Luckily, about the time that the nuts really started to size, which is when they’re most susceptible to scab, it really dried off and let everybody catch up with fungicide protection,” Extension horticulture specialist Lenny Wells said in the release. “Even where there was a lot of scab pressure, our farmers did a really good job of keeping the scab to a minimum, I think.”

The one down side to this year's crop is the foliage conditions, which are the worst Wells said he's seen in pecan trees.

Pests, such as mites and aphids, were major nuisances for pecan growers.

Black aphid feeding causes yellow spots on leaves, whereas mites cause leaf scorching. Early fungicide applications to control scab may have caused leaf bronzing.

Significant foliage and leaf loss may affect next year's crop since the buds form the previous summer.

A large amount of leaf loss and the photosynthesis they carry out could affect tree vigor.

Generally, Wells said it's a good idea to try to minimize leaf loss until the first frost or as late as possible.

Georgia is the top pecan-producing state in the nation. In 2013, the last year for which figures are available, pecans had a farmgate value of $315.5 million, according to the University of Georgia.