Oklahoma's pecan harvest has been good in the northeastern part of the state this year, but late spring freezes in the southern part of the state have meant a less-than-bountiful crop of nuts.
While Oklahoma produced about 25 million pounds of pecans in 2012 and typically averages about 18 million pounds, this year's nut harvest will likely come in about 6 million pounds, said Charles Rohla, pecan grower and past president of the Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association.
“This year the crop is pretty light due to a number of factors — southern Oklahoma had three late freezes that really hurt production,” Rohla said. “The area from Bryan County to Pontotoc County was hit pretty hard.”
Rohla manages the Sam Roberts Noble Foundation's 500-acre pecan orchard in Burneyville on the Red River.
“Along the Red River, maybe a third of the crop has been wiped out,” Rohla said.
However, the quality of the pecans has been better this year because of the lessening of extreme drought conditions in the state, he said.
“The quality is excellent this year compared to last year,” Rohla said.
“Because of the drought, the pecans had been about a third of their normal size in previous years.”
The weather was mercifully better for pecan growers in northeastern Oklahoma, and many are reporting a good harvest this year.
“The growers that were north of I-40 — we had a good crop, but everybody south of I-40 didn't have good crop,” Peggy Knight said, who owns about 4,000 pecan trees in various stages of production with husband Bob Knight at Knight Creek Farm in Creek County.
The Knights wrapped up their harvest of paper shell pecans in late November on their 300-acre farm near Bristow and will continue harvesting native hard shell varieties through mid January.