TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Texas pumpkin farmers are having their second sub-par season in a row, said the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Lower amounts of crop were produced due to drought conditions, and experts mentioned this led to higher prices and demand. The drought also created less management issues.

Despite the low numbers of pumpkins produced, some fields yielded more than in 2021.

Floyd County near Lubbock, produces the most of this fall crop across the state. Their harvest is estimated to end in 10 days.

Some producers who had a lot of irrigation said they ended up with 10%-20% more than last year, while other farmers saw that their yields were 10% less than the previous year.

“We had virtually no rainfall this summer, so the crop relied entirely on irrigation,” said Mark Carroll, an AgriLife Extension agriculture agent. “Getting the crop well established was an issue, but by July most fields looked good because pumpkins do really well in the heat.”

Texas pumpkin production

Some producers plant their pumpkins between May and June. Farmers that want to sell for wholesale markets typically want to harvest in early September. Producers that want to meet direct-to-consumer demand hope to harvest in late September.

The town of Floydada is well known for producing pumpkins in Texas. Thousands of acres of the crop are produced near this area.

Producer perspective

Cris Hacker plants pumpkins and owns Hacker Farms in Knox County. He said demand and prices are growing, but he only produced about half the amount of pumpkins that he expected.

In 2021, the Hacker Farms had 40% less of their crop than they usually do. Hacker also said he had trouble producing the crop in 50 of the 150 acres he planted.

According to experts, there was less pollination and fewer bees out. Temperatures outside also reached about 110 degrees during the most important pollination times.

“The plants looked better than ever, healthy and full, but did not put on any fruit,” said Hacker. “There were nowhere near as many bees compared to last year, and I noticed neighbors with irrigated cotton had a similar issue – good looking plants that were not putting on bolls.”

Despite the pollination issues, farmers had less production problems this year. The demand for pumpkins is also high because less of the crop was produced in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

“The price is the best it’s ever been, and the demand is incredible,” Hacker said. “Buyers call every day begging for pumpkins because it looks like most everyone’s production is down this season.”