Stretching across southern New Mexico to the Gulf Coast of Texas, pecan growers are reporting that rains over the last two weeks have improved prospect for a good nut crop this year. Optimism runs high that demand for quality pecans will boost holiday sales and producer profits.
In New Mexico especially, substantial moisture at the right time throughout the year is expected to bump production numbers for what has proven to be the state's second most valuable crop in recent years.
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A good crop in the Land of Enchantment would be good news for many pecan producers who were disappointed with a smaller-than-expected crop last year.
Producer Bill Bonham has high hopes for a good crop at his orchard. He says the nuts seem larger, have clustered well and depending on damaging hail and other weather developments in the weeks ahead, he expects to harvest about 3,000 pounds of healthy pecans per acre on his 1,500 acre orchard near Roswell.
Pecan producers near Las Cruces in Doña Ana County, where most pecans are grown in New Mexico, say they suffered a little damage from heavy weather in October, but most report rains have helped nuts to fill out and say they are also expecting a good harvest.
Chile producers report that rains slowed down red chile harvest in areas around Hatch, but harvest has resumed and chile quality and yield remain good.