One of Middle Georgia’s largest peach growers is adding more pecan trees. Pecan prices and continuing labor issues are behind the shift.
At one time Lane Southern Orchard’s 4,500 acres were about 80-percent peaches and 20-percent pecans. But now they’re about even. Last Fall pecan prices soared to $12 a pound as overseas markets continue to grow.
Farmer Duke Lane says they’re adding pecan trees to their aging Fort Valley peach orchards. After six years they start producing nuts. Labor is also easier. To farm 2,000 acres of peaches you need around 250 workers, for pecans, about 40.
“The pecan deal is so mechanized that it basically involves operators of your shakers and your sweepers and your blowers and all.”
Pecan trees also live around 100 years whereas peach trees only last 15.