The primary nut crop in Mississippi is pecans. Pecans are native into the Delta region but have a long history in other areas of Mississippi as well. Some of the first publically available improved varieties came from south Mississippi, making that region the epicenter of today’s modern pecan production. Overall, Mississippi ranks in the top 10 states for pecan production, with average yields between 2 and 4 million pounds per year. There has been a resurgence in interest in pecans recently due to the increase in consumption and price. New orchards are being planted and many abandoned pecan orchards could be put back into production with some intensive management. Other than pecans, nut crop plantings are minor. Black and English walnuts and Chinese chestnuts make up the majority of those plantings.
Mississippi pecan producers faced a particularly challenging year with drought and then rain at the wrong time, but irrigated orchards are making a good crop.
Eric Stafne, fruit and nut crop specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the dry summer did one very good thing: It helped control pecan scab, a disease that is often a problem for the state’s pecan trees.