As the frigid temperatures continue to blanket the southern US, pecan growers in North America are attempting to finish this year’s pecan harvest in the next 30-45 days.
Where as many pecan growers have completed field work, most are now working in the cleaning and sorting plants to get the pecans ready for auction. But a few growers have decided not to put their pecans up for auction when they get finish cleaning and sorting. Instead some growers have elected to put their pecans in cold storage. “We started doing this about 8 years ago” says one grower, “we can store for a few cents [per pound] and we get a better price later”. Storing pecans as opposed to auctioning as soon as they are harvested is becoming more common amongst pecan growers. Pecan growers say that they are now making enough to afford to hold and sell at a later date when the markets are higher. This was not so common only ten years ago. Most of the burden of storing pecans fell upon the pecan sheller’s of North America. The North American pecan sheller’s in previous years, would purchase the entire crop during the harvest months, and then store the crop themselves to be sold or shelled at a later date. That is slowly changing due to higher prices in the pecan industry. Now pecan growers get more per pound on in-shell which allows them to cover their operating cost with less of the pecan harvest, leaving the rest available to store for higher prices later in the season. “You can’t just hold and sell whenever, you gotta watch the [pecan] market” says another grower. “You can do pretty good if you watch prices year-round”. North American pecan sheller’s also seem to like the new trend, they are not constricted by such large capital requirement’s during the harvest season. “Now that growers can afford to hold their crops longer, it lessens our burden and allows us to pay more to the grower, instead of the banker.”