Startup Costs a Challenge to Pecan Growing

Georgia’s pecan industry grew by more than 20,000 new acres in the last five years. Pecans are a booming business in Georgia, but University of Georgia (UGA) Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells says new farmers should go into the venture knowing that pecans are a costly investment.

“Georgia growers who are looking to break into the industry need to be mindful of the various costs that are associated with the crop. A lot of people just see the finished product. They see pecans on the ground in the fall, think about the great prices and believe they can do the same,” Wells said.

There are high startup costs associated with producing pecans and it takes about six or eight years for a commercial pecan crop to produce.

“If you’re a grower, can you go that long without seeing a return on your investment,” Wells asks.

Wells says the most important production factor to consider is irrigation.

“Keeping your pecan orchards watered is a must. We have seen in research trials at UGA that in those trees that have irrigation, there is a substantial increase in yields per acre,” Wells said. “To even consider growing pecan trees without the benefit of irrigation is a mistake.”

In one research study, Wells referenced a trial comparing non-irrigated orchards to those receiving 1,200 gallons and 3,600 gallons per day. The non-irrigated orchard produced 1,034 pounds per acre. The orchard irrigated with 1,200 gallons a day produced 1,374 pounds per acre and the orchard that received 3,600 gallons a day finished with 1,761 pounds per acre.

While irrigation is a must to maximize pecan production, it’s also quite expensive. Most farmers implement a drip irrigation system, which averages about $800 per acre for system parts and installation. The costs increase depending on the size of the grower’s well and pump. Wells estimates another $35 to $60 per-acre cost to operate the irrigation system.

As with other crops, pecans require a diverse set of equipment. Farmers just starting in the business immediately need an herbicide sprayer, rotary mower and small tractor. Other future equipment needs include an air blast sprayer, a dump wagon, a harvest wagon, a larger tractor, a blower, a sweeper, a harvester and a shaker.

“There’s no doubt that growing pecans means that you need to buy or have access to pieces of equipment that you probably didn’t have or need before. They are specifically tailored to growing pecans, so it’s a costly operation to start,” Wells said.

That said, Wells says that growing pecans can potentially bring future rewards.

“If growers can just hang in there for the first several years and get their trees to produce a crop, there is money to be made in growing pecans. I’m not going to guarantee you a fortune, but you can make a profit if you accept the risks that come with producing this crop,” Wells said.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Nuts Stories
Nuts
September 3, 2017
Codling Moth Monitoring Tips in Walnuts
Mating disruption doesn’t just affect those orchards directly involved; you need to consider the potential impact on nearby orchards. Read More
Insect Control
August 22, 2017
Stink Bug Threatens High-Dollar Crops in California
While populations are low, it appears invasive pest has recently stumbled upon the state’s peaches and almonds. Read More
Citrus
August 17, 2017
How Wicked Will Winter 2018 Be in the U.S.?
The 200th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac reveals wide-ranging weather patterns and events that would require everything from shovels to shorts. Read More
Nuts
July 30, 2017
The New Normal of Almond Orchard Canopies
Just because an almond orchard has no live lower limbs doesn’t mean it’s not extraordinarily productive. Read More
Nuts
July 29, 2017
New Orchard Systems Advisor Returns Home
Luke Milliron, who’s back in the Butte County area, is ready to help growers, especially improving irrigation. Read More
Nuts
July 28, 2017
Self-Fertile Almond Dominates New Plantings
‘Independence’ almond — which cuts pollination and other cultural costs — now represents one-quarter of all plantings. Read More
Citrus
July 23, 2017
USDA Invests $7.6 Million toward Beneficial Insect Research
Projects to promote beneficial organisms as part of a pest control strategy. Read More
Fruits
July 14, 2017
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Predator Egg Mass Found
Samuri wasp parasitized egg mass found in Southern New Jersey peach orchard. Read More
Mobile technology farming
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Practical Solutions Are Bringing Precision Agriculture Closer to Earth
Growing the budding ag-tech sector to maturity likely will require a deeper meeting of the minds between technologists and agriculturists. Read More
Nuts
July 7, 2017
Lab Opens to Test for Pistachio Problem
AgExperts Inc. is now testing for Rhodococcus bacteria, which has plagued growers for the past few years. Read More
Nuts
July 7, 2017
California Almond Crop Projected to Increase 5%
This year’s California almond crop is forecasted to exceed 2 billion pounds, according to the California Almond Objective Measurement Report Read More
Closeup of a managed bee hive next to a blueberry field
Citrus
June 28, 2017
Felony Charges in Beehive Thefts
The men accused of heading up an operation to steal and re-sell beehives, Pavel Tveretinov and Vitaliy Yeroshenko, 48, have Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Your Crops
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
honeybees
Fruits
June 6, 2017
Survey: Bee Loss Drops Last Season
Bee Informed Partnership says preliminary analysis of results show second-lowest loss rate recorded in last seven years. Read More
Nuts
June 3, 2017
Have Flooded Orchards? Keep an Eye out for Damage
While the damage from waterlogging or Phytophthora may not be immediately known, there are some warning signs to be on the lookout for. Read More
The Latest
Nuts
October 2, 2017
Almond Industry Group Backs USDA Export …
Almond Alliance of California President Kelly Covello: Without Market Access Program money, the world-dominant industry “might not have entered China, which is now our third largest export market.” Read More
Nuts
September 25, 2017
Pollination Power Couple Teaming Up for …
Growers would be better off adding blue orchard bees (BOBs), reducing their heavy dependence on honeybees that have to be brought into California each year. Read More
Nuts
September 12, 2017
Walnut Crop Expected to be Down 5%
While wet California winter was welcome to growers, some orchards were flooded, compromising root systems. Read More
Nuts
September 3, 2017
Codling Moth Monitoring Tips in Walnuts
Mating disruption doesn’t just affect those orchards directly involved; you need to consider the potential impact on nearby orchards. Read More
Insect Control
August 22, 2017
Stink Bug Threatens High-Dollar Crops in…
While populations are low, it appears invasive pest has recently stumbled upon the state’s peaches and almonds. Read More
Citrus
August 17, 2017
How Wicked Will Winter 2018 Be in the U.…
The 200th edition of the Farmers’ Almanac reveals wide-ranging weather patterns and events that would require everything from shovels to shorts. Read More
Nuts
July 30, 2017
The New Normal of Almond Orchard Canopie…
Just because an almond orchard has no live lower limbs doesn’t mean it’s not extraordinarily productive. Read More
Nuts
July 29, 2017
New Orchard Systems Advisor Returns Home
Luke Milliron, who’s back in the Butte County area, is ready to help growers, especially improving irrigation. Read More
Nuts
July 28, 2017
Self-Fertile Almond Dominates New Planti…
‘Independence’ almond — which cuts pollination and other cultural costs — now represents one-quarter of all plantings. Read More
Citrus
July 23, 2017
USDA Invests $7.6 Million toward Benefic…
Projects to promote beneficial organisms as part of a pest control strategy. Read More
Fruits
July 14, 2017
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Predator Egg …
Samuri wasp parasitized egg mass found in Southern New Jersey peach orchard. Read More
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Practical Solutions Are Bringing Precisi…
Growing the budding ag-tech sector to maturity likely will require a deeper meeting of the minds between technologists and agriculturists. Read More
Nuts
July 7, 2017
Lab Opens to Test for Pistachio Problem
AgExperts Inc. is now testing for Rhodococcus bacteria, which has plagued growers for the past few years. Read More
Nuts
July 7, 2017
California Almond Crop Projected to Incr…
This year’s California almond crop is forecasted to exceed 2 billion pounds, according to the California Almond Objective Measurement Report Read More
Citrus
June 28, 2017
Felony Charges in Beehive Thefts
The men accused of heading up an operation to steal and re-sell beehives, Pavel Tveretinov and Vitaliy Yeroshenko, 48, have Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Y…
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Fruits
June 6, 2017
Survey: Bee Loss Drops Last Season
Bee Informed Partnership says preliminary analysis of results show second-lowest loss rate recorded in last seven years. Read More
Nuts
June 3, 2017
Have Flooded Orchards? Keep an Eye out f…
While the damage from waterlogging or Phytophthora may not be immediately known, there are some warning signs to be on the lookout for. Read More