Pecans: Worst drought in 1,200 years

Date: 24th May 2022 Category: Latest News
Pecans: Worst drought in 1,200 years

The western parts of the USA are confronted with the worst prolonged drought in 1,200 years. Since water is restricted local farmers now have to make difficult decisions.

US food production to be cut.

Not only have geopolitical tensions and the pandemic tested the resilience of farmers in the western US, especially in California, but the drought is also presenting a challenge. As the Smithsonian Magazine and others report, the southwestern US is witnessing the worst drought in 1,200 years. Research conducted by the University of California shows that human-induced climate change is mainly responsible for this. Due to water restrictions, many producers in California have no other option but to make significant sacrifices, according to Pecan Report. This is not only limiting pecan production but is also impacting US food production in general (mundus-agri). 

2022 Mexican Crop Impacts (INC)

  • Water Treaty of 1944 & causing a reduced allotment of Conchos river irrigations

  • Reliant on favorable weather conditions, enough rain during hot months (June-August)

  • Many new orchards and trees are coming into production

  • Quality is expected to be good coming off two years of lower production


Nuts will be lost

Less snow and rain have necessitated water restrictions for farmers this year, not only in California but also in New Mexico, where most pecans are grown after Georgia. New Mexico is even set to produce more than Georgia, which witnessed a heavy hurricane season this year. Although New Mexico's dry climate provides excellent conditions for growing pecans as it provides minimal disease and insect pressure, irrigation is required, and as the Pecan Report states, funding is underway to extend production along the Rio Grande. The unprecedented drought will, however, have significant scale impacts as the trees will shed their nuts to survive. 

Australian Pecan nuts

• 2018 - 2020 crops were affected by severe drought
• Now in the grip of a big wet and storages are charged for 2+ years
• New plantings will see crop double by 2030; modest increases thereafter
• Majority of Australia’s crop is consumed within Australia and New Zealand
• Consumption rate is about 40g per capita, growth is steady
• COVID forced shoppers to change their behaviour – packaged and online
shopping prevailed
• Supermarket sales remain strong but food-service still generally weak
• Supply chain disruptions persist
• Shoppers and retailers – like the