Rumors, opinions and wishful thinking all through the pecan supply chain have been making the rounds concerning this year’s crop and current pricing trends at the commercial and retail levels.
When we all bought into the idea of a marketing order with data and reporting promised, none of us could have believed we would be 7 years into data collection and reporting and still have no faith in the constantly changing seemingly made up numbers reported by the APC and its staff, but here we are.
While we currently can not rely on the data published by the APC we can look at what we do know about this year’s crop.
Pecan cold storage levels are low. Looking at the data over the last few years we see that this is some of the lowest pecan cold storage levels we have seen in nearly a decade.
Handler Inventory is Low. Yes I know this data can not be trusted, but while the APC staff regularly changes the data with no notice, it is some semblance of a data point and I believe the APC board members are now working to right the ship.
Georgia will not make 100 million pounds this year. Even before Hurricane Idalia wiped out a large portion of the pecan crop in southeast Georgia and parts of North Carolina, Georgia would not have produced 100 million pounds. The Georgia pecan crop is still made up of a significant amount of older orchards and the Stuart crop on older trees is just not there this year. Even on younger varieties we are experiencing an off year across the state.
Texas with the exception of West Texas will have a light crop. After recently speaking with growers from the middle Texas region the crop there has been under severe drought conditions.
China is buying more pecans. The Chinese market is still buying pecans and will likely again be the largest buyer in the export markets. Early harvest nuts are being offered at 2.7 and higher and since the Chinese New Year celebrations fall in February this year buyers have a little more time to negotiate so prices may rise even further if this crop turns out to be smaller than expected.
New markets in Korea and India are purchasing and pushing consumption higher. While the existing markets continue to hold up purchasing levels, we are now seeing new markets begin to develop a taste for American pecans and we are seeing an uptick in consumption in these areas.
As we move forward into the coming harvest season we will quickly get a better idea of the crop size and the ability of shellers and brokers to suppress the commercial in-shell market. For now on our farm we won’t be entertaining any lowball prices and I would suggest you consider the same on your farm sales.