Torrential rains are washing away pecan crops - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Torrential rains are washing away pecan crops

PIGGOTT, AR (KAIT) - It's the middle of harvest season for Holland's Pecans in Piggott.

They know that kitchen ovens will be loaded up with pecan pie for the holidays. But you may have noticed a jump in pecan prices at the supermarket.

Tim Holland says this was the first pecan crop in two years.

"Our phones start ringing usually in October, sometimes in September. People wanting us to ship to them in different parts of the country. And we have a lot of demand."

But this year is a little different.

"Because of the drought and because of the Chinese influence on purchasing in the Chinese markets. So we are taking a lot of pecans overseas now."

And Mother Nature is putting up a fight.

Around 15 inches of rain has fallen since the beginning of November.

In some places on the orchard, a half-foot of standing water has made harvesting impossible for at least another week.

"Out of the month of November which we usually harvest everyday, we've only harvested two days in November."

And only one day so far in December.

Most of the pecan trees are now bare from the constant bombardment of raindrops.

The trees had been recovering from the 2009 ice storm which heavily damaged the orchard.

"Just by looking at the trees I would say we lost around 75 percent already. I'm just guessing 75 to 80 percent has got knocked off the trees and has went downstream."

Holland's Pecans can average up to 2,000 pounds per acre, but this year it's looking more like two hundred.

But the demand is still there, and Holland is just as happy to fill those orders.

"We may have lost the crop, but the trees are still with us."

Copyright 2011 KAIT.  All rights reserved.

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