Despite a bumper crop of high-quality pecans this year, Georgia’s growers will probably make fewer profits from their harvest.

However, consumers can expect to pay about the same price for the tree nuts as they did last fall.

This year’s crop came in early and “looks good,” but farmers are getting less for their harvest than they have the past two years, said Lenny Wells, pecan specialist with UGA Cooperative Extension.

“We have a somewhat unexpectedly good crop that will be very close to the same level as last year’s crop,” he said.

For the past four years, Georgia has led the nation in pecan production. According to the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, the crop had a farm gate value of just over $233 million in 2010. Economists estimate this year’s crop will be worth $200 million because of lower per pound prices.

Across the state, this year’s warm, dry weather meant that pecan crops were healthy and about two weeks ahead of schedule, Wells said.

“The interesting thing about this crop was its earliness,” he said. “The warm winter and spring led to an early bud break, early foliage and crop development that continued through the season to crop maturity.”

Warm, spring weather jump-started this year’s crop, and the lack of rainfall in most parts of the growing region kept disease pressure down.

“While the southern tier of counties south of Tifton had decent rain, many counties north of Tifton remained pretty dry,” Wells said.

“Some areas across the bottom tier of the state had a significant amount of rainfall in the summer that increased disease pressure and may have affected quality some.”