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Pecan Crop Bouncing Back From Devastating Drought

The effects of the drought are still felt as the pecan crop is harvested at an orchard in Cross Plains.
Rows and rows of pecan trees line the land, now standing barren as this year's harvest gets underway.

"A pecan will last several generations if they're taken care of," said Scott Childress, owner of Childress Agricultural Enterprises.

The Childress Orchard in Cross Plains has been growing and harvesting the nut for four decades now.

But because of the drought, Childress said this year's crop is resulting in smaller pecans with less meat inside the shells. 

"We still have a lot of undreground moisture that needs to come back," explained Childress.

In a good year, the orchard harvests about 60,000 pounds of pecans.

Last year, that number was a paltry 6,000.

This year, some improvement at a harvest of 35,000 pounds, thanks to the late rainfall we saw in September. 

"Better to have it in August, but September saved our trees and it also gave us a decent crop."

And for orchardists, harvest or not, healthy trees is what matters most.

"The majority of these trees have been here for forty years so if we don't have a crop one year, that's okay, as long as these trees are healthy," Childress said.

Those healthy trees result in a healthier nut and heartier harvest, hopefully for many more years to come.
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