Pecan Crop Will Be A Big One

A large Southern pecan crop has cut grower prices, but don't expect any bargains at the grocery store. Experts say the lower prices are unlikely to be passed on to consumers who blend them into holiday sweets for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Agriculture officials predict a U-S crop of 355 million pounds, nearly 150 million pounds more than last year, when many growers were hurt by a drought. Thanksgiving and Christmas are peak periods for pecans. Retail prices have remained steady at about five-dollars-50-cents to six-dollars-per-pound over the past few years and should remain the same this year.

Georgia, the nation's largest producer, should have a 105 million pound crop this year. Pecans also are grown in Mississippi and 12 other states. Since pecans compete with almonds and walnuts, the industry has been trying to boost consumption through promotional campaigns.

Several recent studies have found that pecans can reduce total cholesterol and especially L-D-L, the bad cholesterol.