But in spite of some summer stress, pecan production for Texas this season appears to be excellent, said AgriLife Extension horticulturist Dr. Larry Stein.

Stein, who primarily works with pecan producers in South Central Texas, said last fall’s rains, as well as the more recent warm days and cool nights, have spurred production.

"The rains last fall actually had a somewhat negative impact on pecan quality last year, but having that moisture in the soil really helped this year's pecan production, contributing to positive growing conditions this fall," he said.

The Oct. 8 estimate by the USDA for this year’s pecan crop in Texas is 70 million pounds, up 10 million from last year, Pena said.

“We’re expecting to have an above-average yield and very good nut quality this year,” said Tim Montz, owner of Montz Pecan.

Montz plants on about 1,000 acres of irrigated, improved and non-irrigated orchard land in North Central Texas near Wichita Falls. Although one of his orchards was badly damaged by hail, the remainder of his orchards produced well and compensated for the loss. Last year was the first year Montz Pecan conducted business with China.

“(In 2009) Chinese buyers bought about 25 percent of my crop,” Montz said. “And this year, I’ve already gotten lots of calls (from prospective buyers) and am seeing a good amount of interest in this crop. I expect to do as much or more business with China this year as last.”

“In 2009, between 80 million and 100 million pounds of U.S. pecans were shipped to China,” said Cindy Wise, executive vice president of the Texas Pecan Growers Association. That was about 25 percent of the entire pecan production of both the U.S and Mexico, and some of that supply carried over into cold storage.”