Texas pumpkin growers faced myriad challenges to produce average yields, but demand for the fall cooking and decorative staple remains high, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.
Most of the state’s few thousand acres of pumpkins are grown in Floyd County around Floydada, a small agricultural town northeast of Lubbock.Pumpkins represent a small amount of acreage when it comes to crop production, but Floydada is famous for its pumpkins. Illinois produces around 90% of the nation’s crop, but a handful of growers around the Texas town continue to produce high-demand heirloom and jack-o’-lantern standard varieties.Their harvest is sold at wholesale and shipped throughout Texas, Oklahoma and as far east as Mississippi.Mark Carroll, AgriLife Extension agriculture agent in Floyd County, said yields and quality were average despite above-average soil moisture conditions.There was significant rainfall throughout the summer starting in late May, Carroll said. While producers avoided major delays to their planting or field management routines, he said the above-average moisture levels led to more problems with fungus than normal. Pumpkin producers sprayed fields one to two times more than a typical season to protect their crop.